CAPE D - The long arm of the law reached out six miles offshore on Oct. 30 with the help of a motor lifeboat crew from U.S. Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment.
Two people suspected of stealing a life raft from a fishing vessel moored at Astoria's West Mooring Basin had left Astoria around 10:30 a.m. in the sailing vessel Kathleen S, said Bob Coster, civilian search and rescue coordinator at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Astoria.
At around the same time, Astoria police took a report from the crew of the fishing vessel Sonja that their life raft had been stolen, possibly by the sailboat crew, who had lost their own life raft in stormy weather about 10 days ago as they arrived in Astoria en route from Port Townsend to San Francisco.
After Astoria police asked the Coast Guard for assistance, the motor lifeboat crew pursued the sailing vessel, boarded it and saw what appeared to be the stolen life raft. They directed the Kathleen S back to shore, where Astoria police were waiting to arrest them, Coster said.
Alan Oja, Astoria's acting police chief, identified the suspects as Justin Adam Miskell, 27, address unavailable, and Thomas Ozell Plunkett, 27, of Kentucky. Both were charged with first-degree theft by receiving and were lodged at Clatsop County Jail. Oja said the suspects told police they bought the life raft from somebody else. He said the life raft is valued at $3,000 to $4,000.