At 9:30 in the morning of December 28, police were called about a vehicle in Mill Pond in Blakely Harbor Park. Officers Victor Cienega and Erik Peffer found in the water there a white four-door Ford Explorer with the doors open and the ignition bell dinging. Water was up to the door sills. No one was inside. The officers found footprints on the shore.
To access the park with his vehicle, the driver had removed a wooden gate and damaged walkways, trees, and shrubs. The vehicle had gone over a 10-foot embankment. Bainbridge Island Metro Parks and Rec Department Superintendent Dan Hamlin estimated the damage at $2970.
Kitsap Tow retrieved the vehicle from the water.
The officers determined that the owner of the vehicle lived on Manitou Beach and they went to his residence. He said the vehicle hadn’t been working. He was unaware that it had been taken, but he knew a friend had the keys. He didn’t want to press charges against his friend.
Officers spoke with the friend who admitted he had taken the car with three friends and gone for a joy ride. Even though police had found the keys in the ignition, he said the vehicle had continued to run after the keys were removed and explained that, after he and his friends had exited the vehicle, it had lurched and fallen into the water.
Cienega forwarded the report to the Prosecutor with the potential for charges of malicious mischief and criminal trespass. He is waiting to hear from the Coast Guard about additional potential charges.
To see the Park District’s conceptual plan for the damaged park, click here.
Photo by Sarah Lane.