FAIRHAVEN, Mass. (WPRI) — Police are looking to identify a man who investigators believe is connected to a sailboat that was found washed ashore Monday morning.
The unoccupied vessel was found around 6:45 a.m. on the south side of West Island Town Beach in Fairhaven, according to police.
The discovery prompted the search for a potential missing boater, however, police later learned the 24-foot sailboat was reported stolen out of New Bedford Sunday night.
The missing boater search was called off Monday afternoon.
Investigators shared a photo of a man who’s now considered a person of interest in the boat theft, though it’s unclear at this time whether he is the one who actually took it.
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The sailboat was taken from the Community Boating Center around 8 p.m., according to police. Investigators believe someone was onboard when the boat washed up.
“The boat did sustain significant damage,” Fairhaven Police Sgt. Kevin Swain said.
The sailboat washed ashore five miles from the Community Boating Center. Lt. Kevin Kozba believes the thief didn’t get far because of the weather.
“It was definitely not a night to be out on the water,” Kobza said. “With the heavy winds and the waves and the lightning … it was very stormy, and that’s probably what I would imagine caused it to wash ashore.”
“We don’t know what his level of experience and expertise is on the water, but the weather definitely did not help,” he added.
The man’s whereabouts are unknown at this time, though several potential sightings in town have been reported.
Anyone who may be able to identify the man or provide additional information is asked to contact the Fairhaven Police Department at (508) 997-7421.