Capt. Mark Ginalsk got his 40' tug Theodore back after it had been stolen and grounded, but it’s not exactly intact. To find those responsible for what looks like a drunken joyride, he has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
The tug was reportedly stolen from Oyster Bay Marina in East Providence, R.I., where Ginalski told ABC-10 he last saw it around 4 p.m. on Monday. A little before midnight, a fisherman spotted the boat driving around in circles. He also saw two or three flashlights moving around on deck, but the lights went out after he called out to the boat. Not long after, the tug was found partially submerged on a sandbar near Sabin Point in Riverside.
An arrest may not be far off. No one was found onboard when authorities boarded the tug, but police received calls about a man in soaking wet clothes pounding on windows at an apartment complex near the site of the tug’s grounding. He was taken into custody around 3 a.m. at the Xtramart in Riverside and allowed to sober up at Rhode Island Hospital. This “person of interest” was released without charges, but investigators hope fingerprints from the boat provide enough evidence to make an arrest.
Hopefully the person responsible will also have to pay restitution to Ginalski, who told ABC-6 he’s owned the tug for 10 years. Damages, which include a 1.5" hole in the tug’s forward peak tank, will cost $50,000 to repair, he estimates.
“I say you can take anything from man but never ruin his tools, because then he can't make a living. That's what I'm trying to do here. Make a living," he said.
The damage could have been worse. According to the Coast Guard, the environmental services company Clean Harbors removed all fuel and oily water from the tug, which can hold 600 gals. of fuel.
The tug was recovered thanks to a joint effort by the Coast Guard, the Rhode Island Marine Task Force and the state’s Department of Environmental Management to pump water out of the tug and re-float it at high tide.