Fairhaven Sailboat Thief Suspect Spotted on Surveillance Video
UPDATE: This article has been updated to include the fact that the suspect was seen on surveillance at Hoppy's Landing.
FAIRHAVEN — Emergency services in Fairhaven have stopped searching the water for a man who apparently abandoned a sailboat reported stolen from a boating center in New Bedford on Sunday night — but they're continuing to search for him on land.
That's according to an update from Fairhaven police stating that the water search was called off at around 1:30 p.m. Monday afternoon, after the man suspected of stealing the boat was subsequently caught on surveillance video footage at Hoppy's Landing.
The 24-foot vessel was found washed ashore unoccupied on a West Island beach at around 6:45 a.m. Monday, after it was reported stolen out of New Bedford at around 8 p.m. Sunday night.
Initial fears the man may have gone overboard during overnight thunderstorms subsided after police saw the suspect in the surveillance footage after the boat was found.
Police spokesperson Lt. Kevin Kobza said the man was caught on camera at Hoppy's Landing, a boat launch area near the causeway to West Island.
Kobza said the department is seeking "a person of interest who not only may have stolen a sailboat and ran it aground, but who in doing so caused a massive response of police, fire and maritime resources."
Land and sea assets from Fairhaven, New Bedford, and Mattapoisett along with the U.S. Coast Guard had actively helped search the water near West Island when police thought the boater was missing.
Fairhaven's police and fire departments were involved in the search, along with the SEMLEC search and rescue team and harbormasters from Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, and Marion.
Anyone with any information on the incident, or who may be able to identify the man, is urged to contact Fairhaven police at 508-997-7421.