Would-be pirate didn't raise suspicions after calling for help on stolen yacht in California


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NEWPORT BEACH, California — A Southern California man managed to convince authorities he was a respectable yachtsman long enough to make off with a $3 million luxury boat for a day, police said.

Newport Beach police said Richard Rodriguez, 32, broke into the 78-foot Stimulus last week, found keys inside and headed to sea.

But he became wedged between docks and radioed for help, the Orange County Register reported Friday (http://bit.ly/Vpxl9y ).

Rodriguez looked like he knew the boat and raised no suspicion when the harbor patrol helped him, a sheriff's spokesman said. The man told deputies the boat was registered to a California corporation, and they didn't have enough information to disprove the claim.

The next day, authorities learned the yacht was stolen, and Rodriguez was spotted near Long Beach Harbor.

Authorities said he later attempted to ram a police boat before he was caught and sent to jail.

The boat had no food on board, only alcohol.

"It was a drunken sea pirate adventure," Long Beach police Detective Joseph Starbird told the newspaper.


Information from: The Orange County Register, http://www.ocregister.com

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