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Pittsburgh River Rescue arrests man after he allegedly stole a yacht on the Allegheny River

Drunk man steals yacht from Pittsburgh marina, police say
Drunk man steals yacht from Pittsburgh marina, police say 02:56

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- One person is in custody after stealing a yacht on the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh

At around 6 a.m. Friday morning, a marina manager called the captain of a yacht that was supposed to be moored at dock in the strip district and told him his yacht was missing. The captain then called 911 and reported his yacht stolen.   

According to Pittsburgh Public Safety, just before 8 a.m., River Rescue responded to the report. According to court paperwork, Michael Fischer broke into the Lock Wall Marina off 23rd Street in the Strip District. 

Police said he boarded and unmoored an 82-foot yacht, but he was unable to turn on the engine. He floated down the river and the yacht ultimately came to a rest along the river wall about 50 yards from the Pittsburgh River Rescue boathouse. 

River Rescue boarded and detained Fischer, who they said was intoxicated. He was cleared by EMS and was taken to the Allegheny County Jail. 

According to court paperwork, Fischer said, "I took the boat I wanted to meet some Pittsburgh Pirates." 

Captain Adam Kernohan was out Friday making checks to the yacht after it was returned to its original docking place. He said there was some sort of party, judging by the conditions. 

"Well we know it was a homeless person, we do know that," Kernohan said. "We love this city, and to have the homeless just feel that they can go ahead and just grab anything that they want and just drift away and sail away on whatever they want is ridiculous."

Kernohan says it was definitely not just one person who boarded the yacht and stole it. He says he's basing that on the amount of the yacht's food, drinks and alcohol that was stolen, not the mention the way he says they trashed the entire boat, including the engine room. 

"The problem is is how did they get on here? Did they swim across from the river, did they climb over a fence? How did they get access at 0 dark 30 in the morning?" he said. 

Pittsburgh police acknowledged there was only one arrest. 

"Given the value of the boat, this is huge, huge. It's a big time felony. One of the officers said it could be 20 to 25 years in jail. But I think the problem is, I mean, how do you prosecute somebody who has nothing?" Kernohan said. 

This yacht is owned by Michael Jennison, the CEO of Jennison Corporation in Carnegie. Jennison uses the yacht for corporate functions and family affairs. They had a cruise scheduled for Friday night, but it's obviously now canceled.

Court paperwork shows Fischer has been charged with theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and defiant trespass. 

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