CORNER BROOK The man charged with stealing a sailboat Thursday morning had been hanging around the Allen’s Cove marina for much of the past week and even befriended the owner of the boat.
That’s according to Brian McCormack, who said David Arthur Sharpe had been claiming ownership of the Celtic Myst, which is actually McCormack’s small sailboat.
Last week, said McCormack, Sharpe had mentioned something about wanting to place flags on boats tied up at the marina. McCormack never thought much about it and, when he arrived at the dock last Friday and saw three flags tied to his boat, he thought it might have been an early Father’s Day gift from his kids.
The next day, the flags had been moved high up on the mast of his boat and McCormack had to go up the mast to take them down.
By that point, said McCormack, many other members of the Bay of Islands Yacht Club were aware of the almost daily presence at the marina of the 25-year-old Sharpe, who is not a member of the club.
When McCormack went to the marina early Thursday morning, he noticed a boat heading out the bay and thought it was early for someone to be out for a sail. He was stunned to soon realize it was his boat.
“We called the RNC, but they said they didn’t have the expertise to go out on the water, so we called the (Canadian) Coast Guard,” said McCormack.
The vessel was out around Meadows Point, about a 15-minute sail from the marina. A group of six or seven club members boarded a vessel and went out to check on the Celtic Myst.
When they got there, McCormack and another member boarded the Celtic Myst and found Sharpe in the boat.
“He still insisted that the boat was his,” said McCormack.
Sharpe did not put up any fight as McCormack and the other club members took over command of the Celtic Myst and guided it back to the marina, where the RNC was waiting to take Sharpe into custody.
“There is about $1,000 in damage done to the boat,” said McCormack. “He took off the hatches and door and threw them overboard.”
Sharpe allegedly damaged the ignition while hot-wiring the vessel to get its motor started. He is also alleged to have damaged the hinges of a bench seat that does lock, but was unlocked at the time the boat was illegally taken.
There was no indication of what Sharpe’s intentions were, but McCormack said he had a knapsack full of food aboard.
“There is something obviously wrong with this young man and I hope he gets whatever help he needs,” said McCormack. “The marina is a very safe place and we have never had any issues like this before.”
Sharpe made a brief appearance in provincial court in Corner Brook late Thursday afternoon. He has been charged with theft over $5,000 and possession of break-in instruments.
According to police information filed with the Crown attorney’s office, the Celtic Myst is valued at around $20,000 and Sharpe allegedly used bolt cutters to cut the lock on the boat.
Crown attorney Ed Ring was opposed to Sharpe’s release and asked Judge Kymil Howe to remand him until a bail hearing could be arranged.
Sharpe will make another appearance in court this morning for a status update and to possibly set a time for a bail hearing.