Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Three people are in custody Tuesday in California after commandeering an 82-foot luxury sailboat in Sausalito, partying through the night and then running the yacht aground in the pounding surf off the beach at Pacifica.
Suspects Leslie Gardner, 63, Dario Mira, 54 and Lisa Modawell, 56, had allegedly stocked the Oyster 82 cutter with beer and pizza before heading offshore. The vessel's owner was identified by ABC Channel 7 as Santa Rosa resident John Fruth, the founder of a Concord-area contact-lens business.
By Monday morning, Gardener, Mira and Modawell were trying unsuccessfully to get the boat off the beach and finally surrendered to authorities. The trio were pulled taken ashore in a personal watercraft by San Mateo County sheriff's deputies, then handed over to Pacifica police who booked them on suspicion of grand theft and conspiracy.
State Parks lifeguard and park ranger Jeff Wadkins, who boarded the vessel after the suspects were removed, said it looked like "there was quite a bit of alcohol drinking onboard."
He said the inside of the yacht, which Channel 7 said might be worth $2.7 million, was in disarray due to the relentless surf.
Efforts to save the boat were underway late Monday, according to Tim Parker, whose dive service put in charge of trying to tow the vessel off the beach and back out to sea.
"The dangers with this vessel is the hull is a stout hull but it has a 10-foot keel on it," Parker said. "That vessel is standing on that keel, rocking side by side."
If the removal isn't done delicately, he said, the keel could snap off and the boat would sink.
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