2024 Election

Pirates of California: Boat Raiders Plunder Bay Area Marina — ‘Everything they didn’t take, they destroyed’

The Pirate Bay is a real place!

Seafaring Californians’ vessels are being boarded and plundered at a shocking rate by a fearsome new breed of pirates.

One marina in the Oakland Estuary in Northern California’s Bay Area has been hit by a spate of robberies where boats have been ransacked or stolen wholesale.

Thieves have taken everything from engine parts, GPS equipment and personal items, according to authorities.

“What they did to the boat was just unbelievable,” owner Steven Young told CBS Bay Area, after police recovered his boat.

Steven Young said his boat, the Bay Escape, was stolen and ransacked by pirates targeting Bay Area harbors in Northern California.

“Normally, you’d expect them to take the dingy and your liquor and stuff like that. But they took the fishing poles.

“They took the fighting chairs; they took the barbecue pits. And everything they didn’t take, they destroyed.”

Young’s 40-foot Sea Ray yacht called the “Bay Escape” was docked at the Embarcadero Cove Marina when it was stolen and trashed by the pirates.

Young’s boat turned up a few days after he reported it missing to police. He said he saw people were on his vessel and called police right away, but they never came.

The thieves not only stole and ransacked Young’s boat, but also left hypodermic needles and scrawled “I love Jessie” in bleach on the couch cushions, CBS reported.

Young’s board was the third attacked by the plunderers and reported to police in a matter of weeks, adding to the ongoing epidemic of vehicle and home break-ins throughout the Bay Area.

The wreckage of Steven Young’s boat, which was found by police days after he reported it missing

Robberies have increased by 20% so far this year compared to same time last year with 348 cases, according to the latest Oakland Police statistics.

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There have been 19 homicides so far this year and 464 aggravated assaults so far this year, which is a 19% and 8% increase, respectively, compared to the same time last year.

Several boats have been broken into, according to residents.

Young’s boat was so badly ransacked his insurance company told him it was “a total loss.”

The Oakland Estuary is an 800-foot wide channel that separates Oakland and Alameda. Residents said the pirates sneak into the marina in the dead of night and steal what they can.

Jamie Camacho said he’s noticed more small boats tied up around a homeless camp at Union Point Park in Oakland and become suspicious.

“And you wonder, where did they get these boats? Small boats are expensive,” Camacho said. “Maybe they’re taking what little money they have to buy them, but it’s, you know … I know a lot of friends who have had their small boats disappear and their outboard motors.”

Michael West said some residents who live on boats have armed themselves against the pirates, and are preparing to engage them on their own terms.

“Someone in this marina had to defend themselves with guns against the pirates,” said West, who also lives on his boat. “Everyone here has a knife, gun or sword or stick to protect themselves. We don’t bother to call the police anymore. We are going to handle it ourselves.”

Damon Taylor, who docks his sailboat at the Jack London Aquatic Center, told CBS outboard motors carry a hefty price— a small 10-horsepower engine is about $10,000 to $15,000. He said Oakland Police hasn’t been much help, so he and fellow sailors try to look after each other’s vessels.

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Oakland Police is also outnumbered since there is only one marine officer who knows how to operate the cops’ vessel used to patrol the area.

“Fighting crime out here is tough, as we only have one full-time marine officer, and that’s myself,” said Officer Kaleo Albino.

“But the City of Oakland Police Department, we tend to make things work with what we have, and I’ve been training approximately ten other maritime officers on how to operate the vessel.”

Business owners are also being hit by the bucaneers.

“Last week we had two of our yachts on the property broken into,” said Craig Jacobsen, president of the Outboard Motor Shop.

He claimed the assailants took the stolen items and loaded them onto a dock and floated into the Union Point Park area near the homeless encampments.

The string of burglaries have left others living in fear.

“Over the last couple of months it’s become extremely severe and boats are being stolen almost on a nightly basis,” former Oakland Marina harbormaster Brock DeLappe told NBC Bay Area.

“Residents in marinas are scared. They’re talking about forming groups, they are arming themselves. Someone’s going to get hurt if this is not taken seriously by authorities.”


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Ella Ford is a mother of two, a Christian conservative writer with degrees in American History, Social and Behavioral Science and Liberal Studies, based in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.


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