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Two suspects thought to be targeting vessels in a California estuary have been arrested by the Coast Guard – after months of thefts and fights with boaters.

At least one suspect – who has not been named – was charged with possession of stolen property.

Investigators believe two individuals committed most of the thefts in the Oakland Estuary, sitting between Oakland and Alameda and near San Francisco.

‘There has been an increase in crime on the waterway, and it’s likely due to a few new anchor-out persons that have recently acquired a sailboat and anchored in the Oakland Estuary,’ Oakland police spokesperson Paul Chambers told Fox News Digital.

Now detectives are reaching out to victims and local harbor masters as the investigation deepens. 

So-called ‘pirates’ have been marauding onto larger boats in the Oakland Estuary for months, according to locals – and the arrest of ‘a few’ suspects was announced this month

One woman posted a photo of two men she claimed were ‘actively stalking and stealing’ back in August. Community members rely on watchdog groups to know which marinas are being targeted. It is not clear if the men are the two that have been arrested by Coast Guard

Other residents photos of the small boats that ‘pirates’ were said to be using as they pillaged other crafts around the estuary

The thieves navigate over to larger boats and pillage them, taking anything they deem valuable – including the motor.

Once they’ve finished, they either sink the ships or dump whatever is left of the boats miles away in the harbor or along its shorelines.

Oakland police received a $166,000 state grant from the Department of Boating and Waterways and are drafting a 90-day cleanup project plan.

They aim to remove most of the abandoned vessels from the estuary by December.

The department is joining forces with the Coast Guard and Alameda police to crack down on crime –  following months of outrage from the community.

During a municipal meeting in September, several residents shared alleged anecdotes of their run-ins with the thieves.

One woman recalled a time she rescued a man in the middle of the night after the ‘pirates’ cut his sailboat line during an argument, stranding him in the water.

‘If there had been any wind at the time I wouldn’t have been able to go out there and rescue this young man who had no motor and no ability to sail that boat,’ the woman said.

Residents in Oakland and neighboring Alameda pledged to assemble into watchdog groups back in August, conducting much of their business on Facebook.

At least one suspect was charged with possession of stolen property, and two individuals in particular are thought to have committed most of the thefts

The U.S. Coast Guard, Oakland and Alameda police are banding together to catch the criminals

Oakland police plan to use a $166,000 state grant to remove abandoned and scrapped vessels from the water, with the effort concluding around December

One local, Marianne Armand, identified two men she’d spotted frequently in the area on August 11.

‘Oakland/Alameda people – HIGH ALERT!!! – these guys are actively stalking and stealing,’ she wrote.

‘Several incidents at EYC (Encinal Yacht Club), but no proof. We have several calls into the police but they can’t do anything unless we catch them.

If you see them, take pictures and call the police. We followed them out of our marina Wednesday night. They were back circling Thursday night.’

She attached images to the post showing two bearded men sitting atop a white dinghy.

One man wore a gray hoodie with a vest and sunglasses, and the other wore a black winter coat with a camouflage bucket hat concealing half his face. 

The photo was printed and tacked near the entrance gate to a local marina with a note: ‘Heads up. Seen trolling around OYC (Oakland Yacht Club), EYC, and all of Marina Village. Early A.M. & at dusk – theifs (sic)!’

Armand’s husband, Dan Hill, uploaded photos of several stolen boats days later along with a call to action for Alameda residents.

‘Alameda boating friends!! Let’s get a patrol going at night,’ he wrote.

‘Donated boat with spotlight. I have a yellow/white flashing light to use. Start shifts. Just make a presence and run these a**holes off!’

Commenters beneath the post slammed local authorities as ‘rent-a-cops,’ with one person writing: ‘Why are the Alameda police in essence aiding & abetting them? Why don’t they ask them for proof of ownership & then escort them away & impound the boats?’

Hill said he was working with the Coast Guard, who had ‘started a report on all of this activity.’

It is unclear if the men pictured are the men who were taken into custody.

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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