Pirates Wreaking Havoc in San Francisco Bay: Local Citizens Outraged Over a Nautical Crime Spree

According to a former harbor master, modern-day pirates are wreaking havoc in San Francisco Bay right now. He claims that many yachts, houseboats, and other watercraft have been “stolen and ransacked” in recent months. He also says local police have done little to stop this crime wave despite the major impact it’s having on boat owners.

Modern-Day Pirates Start Making a Splash

Former harbor master Brock de Lappe attended a San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission enforcement meeting recently and revealed that modern-day pirates have set up shop in the San Francisco Bay and begun wreaking havoc on those with yachts, houseboats, and other watercraft.

He claims they’ve started to climb aboard them to pillage and plunder everything in sight. He also says some of them are stealing entire boats and doing extensive damage to them before abandoning them or allowing them to drift out to sea.

Boat Owners Push Back Against Pirates

De Lappe went on to tell the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission that boat owners who keep their vessels docked near the Oakland-Alameda Estuary have tried to fight back against the pirates. But he said that “crime has risen to truly intolerable levels” in the area, which has made it almost impossible for those with boats to keep up with all of the illegal activity.

He also pointed out that police have been slow to respond to calls for help. “Multiple vessels have been stolen and ransacked,” he said. “Victims have had to resort to personally confronting the criminals to recover their property without the benefit of police support. Is this appropriate activity for a 79-year-old senior?”

Outrage Over the Lack of a Police Presence Grows

De Lappe isn’t the only person who lodged a complaint about the police reaction to the pirates in San Francisco Bay. The nearby Alameda Community Sailing Center has also written a letter to the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission to complain. ACSC owner Kame Richards told the commission that four of the organization’s safety boats, which are worth up to $35,000, have been either destroyed or stolen by the pirates in the area.

He also told the commission that the police haven’t offered up much in terms of a solution to the problem. “We cannot run our program without these boats,” Richards wrote. “The response we received from the [Alameda Police Department] was that they could do nothing, and a warning not to approach the perpetrators if we located our boats.”

Local Police Respond to Criticism

During an interview that took place shortly after the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission enforcement meeting, APD Chief Nishant Joshi downplayed the presence of pirates in and around the San Francisco Bay.

He revealed that very few pirate-related crimes had taken place in the area. “Crime is both the perception of crime and the actual presence of crime,” he said. “I say that because, of the total incidents that are generated in the city of Alameda, less than 1% of those are attributed to all of our marinas.”

Who Are These Modern-Day Pirates?

While Joshi refused to add any fuel to the fire as he discussed the complaints that many boat owners have started to file, he admitted that local police aren’t yet sure who is responsible for the crimes that have been committed thus far near the Oakland-Alameda Estuary.

This uncertainty has led some people to speculate that the pirates may actually be those living in homeless camps in Oakland. One report suggested that an influx of small boats has appeared near a homeless camp situated in the Union Point Park section of the city.

The Coast Guard to the Rescue?

If those who are committing crimes near the Oakland-Alameda Estuary do end up hailing from Oakland, the Oakland Police Department has already come out and said that it could be difficult to stop them. The OPD has just one police officer who has been trained to use the department’s boat.

But fortunately for boat owners, the Coast Guard was recently called in to help keep an eye on the situation. It should put a stop to at least some of the brazen pirate attacks that have started to take place in the San Francisco Bay.

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