California man accused of stealing former Army tugboat

The Owatonna is a 350-ton former Army tugboat that has been converted to a yacht.


By GARY KLIEN | The Marin Independent Journal, Novato, Calif. (Tribune News Service) | Published: January 24, 2018

Sausalito police arrested a man after he was found aboard an adrift 350-ton former Army tugboat that has been converted to a yacht

The incident occurred Monday morning, when the Coast Guard responded to reports that the 107-foot boat was adrift in Richardson Bay. The Coast Guard boarded the boat and found Douglass Crandall.

The Coast Guard turned Crandall over to police after he gave suspicious answers about why the tugboat was loose in the bay, said Sausalito police Lt. Bill Fraass.

Police said that Crandall was shooed off the boat the previous day by a neighbor at the Sausalito Yacht Harbor, where the tugboat is usually moored at the end of a pier at the marina.

Police said he is a transient man who is known to live on boats anchored in Richardson Bay. He likely returned to the harbor on Monday and cut the boat loose, Fraass said.

Police said Crandall apparently jumped into the water and swam out to board the tugboat. Police also said he broke a window on the boat.

Crandall, 48, was booked into Marin County Jail on theft and vandalism allegations. He remained in custody Tuesday in lieu of $15,000 bail.

The Coast Guard pushed the tugboat back to the pier.

The boat, named Owatanna, is on the market for $1.5 million through Oceanic Yacht Sales. According to the brokerage, it was built in 1955 for the Korean War but it was never deployed. The Army gave it to the Navy in 1964 and it was used at the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

The Navy sold it to a private owner in the 1990s, and it was redesigned as a four-bedroom yacht.

“It’s just pretty silly,” the broker, Rick Peterson, said of the alleged theft. “There’s nothing you can do to hide a big boat like that, and no one of our generation knows how to start the darn thing. It’s a pretty silly operation, frankly.”

©2018 The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.)
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