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Thief takes $2.4 million yacht on wild ride from Chandler's Cove, smashing other boats

The 92' "New Atlantic" which was stolen and taken on a wild ride (KOMO Photo)

SEATTLE (KOMO) - A man stole a multi-million dollar yacht from Seattle's Chandler's Cove early Tuesday morning, ramming several other boats during his attempted getaway, according to Seattle Police.

“He was bumping against my boat, I was going to be all sarcastic about his driving, but then I saw the ‘New Atlantic’ was away from the dock with no lights on,” said Christopher Driver, who called police when his boat was hit.

When officers arrived, the 25-year-old thief gave up and jumped into Lake Union. Officers pulled him out a few minutes and took him to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for evaluation. He was booked into the King County Jail Tuesday morning.

According to SPD, the 25-year-old man is Hagos Debalkew. A broker for Crow’s Nest Yachts confirmed the name with KOMO News.

Around 4:30 a.m., police say the man boarded the “New Atlantic” and managed to get it started before crashing into at least two yachts and the Chandler’s Cove dock.

"He kind of pinballed out of here," said Driver.

In one instance, he "T-boned" a 70-foot Westport yacht, shattering windows and causing structural damage.

"Well he [Debalkew] doesn't know how to steer a boat," David Tracy said, who sometimes works on the 70-foot ‘Midnight Sun.’ "Obviously he knew how to start it."

Brokers estimate the total damage of the joyride at nearly $400,000.

The whole ordeal lasted about 15 minutes, police said.

“What would possess him to steal a boat in the first place, let alone something like that where he can’t go anywhere with it,” said Mike Manning, a broker for Crow’s Nest Yachts, who is selling the yacht.

Detectives are still processing the scene and assessing the damage.

When officers arrived, the thief gave up and jumped into Lake Union. Officers pulled him out a few minutes and took him to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for evaluation. Officers say he'll eventually be booked into the King County Jail.

The whole ordeal lasted about 15 minutes, police said.

Detectives are still processing the scene and assessing the damage.

The stolen yacht had been listed for sale with an asking price of $2.4 million.


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