Police: Men caught with stolen vessel stuck on sandbar

August 25, 2020

Two Pennsylvania men face charges after police say they stole a vessel Aug. 22 and ran aground on a sandbar in Indian River Bay.

Before daybreak, Matthew Tortu, 24, and Travis Gooding, 21, both of Coatesville, Pa., were observed by other boaters in a vessel that had run aground in the Indian River Bay, said Nikki Lavoie, spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Boaters also told police that the men were not the owners of the vessel. Police learned that the Maritime Skiff vessel had been stolen earlier in the morning from Tuckahoe Acres where it was moored, Lavoie said.  

Tortu and Gooding were both charged with one count each of felony theft, felony conspiracy, criminal mischief, no boating safety certification, no navigation lights and negligent operation of a motor vessel. Gooding was also charged with one count of failure to maintain a proper lookout. 

Both men were arraigned by video phone with Justice of the Peace Court 3 and released on unsecured bond, Tortu on $4,040 and Gooding on $4,050. Both have future court appearances in the Sussex County Court of Common Pleas.


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