Thursday, September 22, 2005

Stolen boat beached with lobsters aboard

Published in the Current

SOUTH PORTLAND (Sep 22, 2005): A boat stolen from a Portland pier Saturday night was beached early Sunday morning on Willard Beach, with live lobsters crawling around the boat.

The “Thorfinn Olaf,” named after the father of owner Mark Nordli of Portland, had been left at Hobson’s Wharf at 2 p.m. Saturday when Nordli finished hauling his traps.

When he returned to the wharf at 5 a.m. Sunday, he found the boat missing. Nordli called the Portland police and then the Coast Guard.

While he was on the phone with the Coast Guard, they were also getting a call from the South Portland police saying the boat had been found on Willard Beach.

Officer Kevin Battle, also the city’s deputy harbormaster, estimated, based on the location of the boat, that it was beached around the time of the high tide, between 1 and 2 a.m.

Nordli said when he arrived at about 7:30 a.m. Battle was already there, and there were “lobsters running around the boat,” leading Battle and Nordli to believe the thieves had pulled some traps overnight. Nordli corraled the lobsters and took them away.

The only thing missing was a battery-powered drill, and the boat did not sustain much damage, at least some of which Nordli attributed to wave action rather than vandals.

Several unmarked gas cans with fuel in them were on Nordli’s boat, leading him to suspect the people who stole his boat lifted gas from other boats first. Police have no suspects in the theft.

“People get drunk on Saturday night, and they say ‘let’s go steal a boat,’ I guess,” Nordli said.

With help from his son, Nordli was able to refloat the boat around 9 a.m. on the incoming tide that same day. He said he might be out fishing that afternoon.