AUG. 29 — A Florida man was charged with first degree grand theft, possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance after he was found sleeping naked on a 50-foot stolen yacht with a shotgun and drugs.
Jim Foth and his sons spotted the drifting boat, called Wild Card, about five miles east of the St. Lucie Inlet Aug. 21, news reports say. As Froth approached the boat one of his sons saw a man, 26-year-old Travis W. Tomasello, asleep on the fly bridge.
“Sure enough there’s a naked body on the bench on the fly bridge. … We start yelling, whistling, honking the horn trying to wake this person,” Foth says in a news report. “It took him 15 minutes to find a pair of pants. We were sitting there laughing.”
Foth contacted the Coast Guard to report the situation, news reports say. When Coast Guard officials arrived they found Tomasello on board the yacht with a 12-gauge shotgun belonging to the owner of the boat, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office offense report. Tomasello also appeared under the influence of drugs, the report says, and was in possession of methadone, a synthetic opiate used to control symptoms of withdrawal from heroin.
After the boat was recovered its owner, Bernard Flippo, 68, found Tomasello’s business card on the boat and a digital camera with a photo of Tomasello standing at stern. “This has got to go down as one of the dumbest criminal stories,” Flippo says in a news report. The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.
— Jason Fell