Christopher Maffei, Calif. man, held in abduction of children, stealing boat

Christopher Maffei (left) was arrested Sept. 7, 2012, after allegedly abducting his children Brooklynn (center) and Devin (right) and fleeing on a sailboat in California.
AP Photo/South San Francisco Police Department
(CBS/AP) SAN FRANCISCO - Christopher Maffei, a Calif. man,   was arrested Friday after he allegedly abducted his two children and attempted to sail away in a stolen sailboat along the Northern California coast, authorities said.

Maffei, 43, was booked on two counts of kidnapping, two counts of child endangerment and two counts of parental abduction, South San Francisco police Sgt. Bruce McPhillips said. He was being held on $200,000 bail.

McPhillips said the California father took his 3-year-old daughter Brooklynn and 2-year-old son Devin from their maternal grandmother while the children's mother, Maffei's former girlfriend, was in a Redwood City court on Tuesday seeking a restraining order against him.

South San Francisco police say that after running off with the children, Maffei drove to a harbor in Alameda County and stole a sailboat. He sailed the boat out the Golden Gate and headed down the coast, police said.

The FBI was notified once it was determined that Maffei had crossed county lines and stolen a boat, then the U.S. Coast Guard was called in once he sailed the boat to the coast, McPhillips said.

The Coast Guard and FBI began tracking the 40-foot sailboat named "Unleashed" after a fisherman spotted it off the San Mateo County coast on Friday.

The children's rescue south of Monterey Bay around 8 p.m. Friday came hours after the Coast Guard had dispatched a HC-130 Hercules plane, a helicopter and two cutters to follow the boat as it slowly sailed down the coastline, Coast Guard officials said.

The children's mother, Jennifer Hipon, told television reporters that she was "blown away" that her estranged boyfriend took the children.

"It's surreal that he actually did this," she said.

More on CrimesiderSeptember 7, 2012 - Calif. father kidnapped kids and sailed away in stolen yacht, police say

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