Boat adrift, man steals 40-foot sailboat in Sheboygan

NOW: Boat adrift, man steals 40-foot sailboat in Sheboygan

SHEBOYGAN (CBS 58) -- A man is behind bars for allegedly stealing a sailboat worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and taking it for a joyride on Lake Michigan.

According to Sheboygan Police, the man was operating the boat while impaired.

The U.S. Coast Guard responded to Lake Michigan on Saturday morning for a search and rescue after people saw the large sailboat drifting away. The man was spotted onboard.

“When we got close to the boat, we boarded it…asked him for his ID, boat registration," said Jesse Moree, U.S. Coast Guard technician. "He couldn’t come up with it or anything like that.” 

According to police, the 40-foot racing vessel, called Northstar, was allegedly stolen.

It belongs to the Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan. The organization reported it missing after noticing the GPS showed it was gone from its dock.

“It’s kinda odd,” said Mark Wessel, a boater. “I believe there were some people down here and they recognized somebody going out, but they thought it was maybe someone who was authorized to take it out,” he said.

According to police, the suspect is a 51-year-old man who is homeless. He recently was staying at the Salvation Army, but was removed for creating a disturbance, authorities said.

“He had to have a little bit of experience driving a boat because he knew how to disconnect the shore ties and turned on the breakers that would start the boat,” Moree said.

The sailboat, worth $450,000, was damaged during the ride. “He ran the boat aground when he was drifting.”

The man is facing possible charges of felony theft, trespassing, criminal damage to property, and OWI.

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