Two homeless men who allegedly stole a sailboat from the Morro Bay harbor and planned to live on the high seas didn’t get very far into their adventure when they lost control of the
20-foot vessel and beached it on a sand spit, police said Tuesday.
They were arrested after becoming stranded on the peninsula and calling the Harbor Patrol for help.
“I think they might have been good candidates for the Darwin Awards,” said Marie Sargent, who owns the boat with her husband.
Sargent heard about her sailboat being stolen early Monday when an Embarcadero dock neighbor called to say the boat was beached on the sand spit and that the Morro Bay Harbor Patrol was working to recover it.
The owner then called the Morro Bay Police Department about 8 a.m. to report that her boat was stolen.
Later in the day, after the boat had been returned to the dock, the Harbor Patrol received a call for help from two men stranded on the sand spit and found Geoffrey Mark Ogara, 52, and Martin Perez Jr., 19, according to police Sgt. Rick Catlett.
While giving them a ride back to shore, Harbor Patrol officers became suspicious when neither man could explain how they got stranded. Eventually, the men confessed to stealing the sailboat, Catlett said.
They were met at the docks by officers and arrested on suspicion of felony grand theft.
Ogara and Perez were booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail in lieu of $25,000 and $20,000 bail, respectively.
Catlett added that both men have no known cities of residence but have been living homeless in Morro Bay for several weeks.
Catlett also said the men eventually told officers they planned to live on the boat in the open sea to escape homelessness, but lost control of the vessel before leaving the harbor.
The boat did not suffer any serious exterior damage in the incident, Catlett said, but the men had apparently ransacked the interior.
Sargent said the men did not steal anything, although they did leave behind a toothbrush, dental floss, a knife, toy binoculars and a copy of the Dana Hayes thriller “Breaking Point.”
Sargent said that she was less angry over the incident than she was relieved it didn’t turn out differently.
“It worked out for the best that they ended up where they did. There’s no real damage to the boat,” she said. “If they had gotten out of the harbor, they might have sunk or drowned or totally wrecked the boat.”
Coincidentally, Sargent said that despite its size, the 20-foot-long Pacific Seacraft Flicka pocket cruiser — which is named the Good News and is currently for sale — is a perfect vessel for long solo voyages on the open ocean.
“You could singlehandedly take this around the world,” she said.
Despite that lofty potential, Ogara and Perez remained landlocked at County Jail as of Tuesday afternoon.