Vancouver Island police recover stolen yacht, suspect claims to have COVID-19

Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties of the Oak Bay Police speaks to media regarding a stolen yacht from Oak Bay Marina on Monday, April 13. The suspect claimed to be infected with COVID-19, carried a knife, and was unwilling to cooperate. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties of the Oak Bay Police speaks to media regarding a stolen yacht from Oak Bay Marina on Monday, April 13. The suspect claimed to be infected with COVID-19, carried a knife, and was unwilling to cooperate. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
The Son Seeker IV, a 54-foot yacht, which was stolen and recovered from Oak Bay Marina on Monday, April 13. The suspect claimed to be infected with COVID-19, carried a knife, and was unwilling to cooperate. His joy ride ended just a few hundred meters south. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)The Son Seeker IV, a 54-foot yacht, which was stolen and recovered from Oak Bay Marina on Monday, April 13. The suspect claimed to be infected with COVID-19, carried a knife, and was unwilling to cooperate. His joy ride ended just a few hundred meters south. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
The Son Seeker IV, a 54-foot yacht, which was stolen and recovered from Oak Bay Marina on Monday, April 13. The suspect claimed to be infected with COVID-19, carried a knife, and was unwilling to cooperate. His joy ride ended just a few hundred meters south. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)The Son Seeker IV, a 54-foot yacht, which was stolen and recovered from Oak Bay Marina on Monday, April 13. The suspect claimed to be infected with COVID-19, carried a knife, and was unwilling to cooperate. His joy ride ended just a few hundred meters south. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
With the help of the Coast Guard, Oak Bay police officers boarded a stolen yacht on Monday morning and arrested a 25-year-old male suspect who claimed he had COVID-19. (Oak Bay Police/Twitter)                                With the help of the Coast Guard, Oak Bay Police officers boarded a stolen yacht on Monday morning and arrested a 25-year-old male suspect who claimed he had COVID-19. (Oak Bay Police Twitter)With the help of the Coast Guard, Oak Bay police officers boarded a stolen yacht on Monday morning and arrested a 25-year-old male suspect who claimed he had COVID-19. (Oak Bay Police/Twitter) With the help of the Coast Guard, Oak Bay Police officers boarded a stolen yacht on Monday morning and arrested a 25-year-old male suspect who claimed he had COVID-19. (Oak Bay Police Twitter)

Oak Bay police officers caught a prolific offender they believe stole a 54-foot yacht from Oak Bay Marina on Monday morning.

A witness in the marina thought it unusual that a boat which is for sale would be started at 3:30 a.m., so they called the police.

Staff at Oak Bay Beach Hotel soon spotted the boat offshore.

“We notified Coast Guard and got a ride to [the boat],” said Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay Police monitoring known offender in Caddy Bay

Oak Bay police officers were heavily armed upon boarding the boat and arrested a 25-year-old male suspect who is known to police.

“Our members boarded the boat, armed while doing so, and found a male in the boat who had a knife in his possession with him,” Bernoties said.

While there is an ongoing problem of marine theft in Oak Bay and Cadboro Bay, Bernoties has not seen a theft of such a large, valuable boat.

The yacht is called the Son Seeker IV, a 2002 Sea Ray, and is listed for $449,000.

Its keys were left inside and it was parked in the immediate slip upon entering the marina.

Video evidence from Brnkl boat and security monitoring, who have a floating office just 10 metres away, captures a man paddling into the marina on a canoe. Footage shows that upon leaving, the man crashed the boat into the dock at least once and appeared to be stuck possibly twice before finally exiting.

“When the male was arrested he made claims he had COVID-19, which was a concern to our members so our members were (for the most part) masked, and masked the [suspect]. [He] remained uncooperative, banging his head against the shield in the police car,” Bernoties said. “We appealed to his good nature and tried to explain this is a very serious allegation.”

The coast guard towed the yacht back to the marina with police on board as a measure of safe-distancing from the suspect. The suspect was cleared by the hospital of COVID-19 testing and released to police custody, Bernoties said, though it is unknown if he has COVID-19.

READ ALSO: Early morning fire engulfs boat in Oak Bay Marina

Police say the suspect has an extensive criminal history and they plan to recommend charges which may include theft over $5,000, possession of stolen property of $5000, breach of conditions (as he is not to possess a knife), and mischief over $5,000 (for damage caused to the yacht when boarding).

A neighbouring boater believes the owner is in Toronto.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alzheimer's Awareness
Okanagan study looking for volunteers of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

The study is looking at how gut bacteria may help slow the disease

Kevin Lee Barrett pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault of his mother Eleanor Holmes on Tuesday, Jan. 26. (File)
West Kelowna man accused of trying to kill his mom pleads guilty to assault

Kevin Barrett entered a surprise guilty plea to the lesser charge of aggravated assault on Tuesday morning

A bus at downtown Kelowna’s Queensway Transit Exchange. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna transit system poised for recovery: transit manager

2021 numbers already show ridership levels at or higher than the projected recovery

Kelowna seen from the top of Knox Mountain. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News file)
Homeownership unattainable for many Kelowna residents

Single-person and single-parent households often have limited options when it comes to housing

A Kelowna cannabis manufacturer has acquired another cannabis-based firm. (Black Press Media File)
Kelowna cannabis company acquires edibles manufacturer for $24.9 million

The Valens Company has acquired LYF Food Technologies

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

Oliver Elementary School
Former Oliver PAC treasurer charged with fraud returns to court

Belinda Yorke will be in court to fix a date for trial in February

Two fibreglass bees were stolen from Vernon’s Planet Bee Honey Farm Nov. 22, 2020. (Facebook)
Stolen bee returned to Vernon honey farm

Two months after thieves buzzed off with two bee sculptures, public tips led police one of them

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Alexandra “Annabelle” Lee and her grandpa Bryan Weightman enjoyed a shopping spree at the Sicamous Askew’s foods location after Weightman won a draw for a gift card. (Submitted)
Sicamous seven-year-old fills grandparents’ shopping cart after contest win

When her grandparents won an Askew’s Foods gift card, Alexandra Lee got to handle the shopping

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read