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The great (attempted) escape

NOV. 12 — The police in Panama City, Fla., along the Watson Bayou got their exercise Tuesday when a 26-year-old visitor gave them a run for their money.

The chase started at 11 a.m. when the suspect took off in a Chevrolet Silverado he stole from the parking lot of a local grocery store, according to a report in the News Herald. The police were notified and began tracking the Chevy through the city streets.

The car was spotted near The Cove neighborhood along the Watson Bayou, and police signaled the man to pull over. The man proceeded to drive the Chevy into the bayou and then swim to a nearby boat. The people on the boat refused to take him aboard, according to the report.

Undeterred, the man then swam to a nearby vacant sailboat, climbed aboard and attempted to hoist the sails and escape. By this time a Bay County Sheriff’s helicopter had been dispatched and was hovering over the scene, according to the report.

While the suspect struggled with unfurling the sails, officials fired up the county’s 27-foot Boston Whaler and took off for the scene from the Massalina Bayou near the Bay County Jail.

When officials reached the scene, they stood on the bow of the whaler with guns drawn, according to the report. The man then put his hands up and lay down on the boat, whereupon officials boarded the sailboat and arrested him.

The man was charged with fleeing and eluding, driving with a suspended or revoked license, attempted theft of a boat and grand theft.

— Elizabeth Ellis