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Police: Homeless man tries to swim away after breaking into St. Petersburg boats

ST. PETERSBURG — George Carroll Wright is not a very good pirate.

Lea Obermeyer is convinced of that after police arrested the homeless man early Wednesday on burglary charges at the municipal marina.

Just before 3 a.m., she was asleep aboard Gary Wall's 30-foot sailboat in slip 45 when the 260-pound Wright bounded in through the hatch in the darkness, police said. Wall stumbled awake, too.

Wright said something about someone named Jimmy sending him over to check on them.

"You have the wrong boat," Obermeyer and Wall yelled repeatedly at the intruder, until he left.

The chase was on. Obermeyer called police and Wall followed the unwanted visitor.

Wright didn't leave the marina. Police said he boarded another boat, in slip 39, where he encountered owner Thomas Reilly. Wright quickly left when Reilly pointed a gun at him.

When police arrived, they found Wright on a boat in slip 62, surrounded by angry boaters from the marina. A police officer boarded the vessel.

"They were about to handcuff him when all of a sudden he (Wright) went over the side," Obermeyer said.

Police said Wright refused to come ashore. But Obermeyer soon arrived in her dinghy, which police used to catch him.

Wright faces burglary and resisting arrest charges. He was being held at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $25,150 bail.

Luis Perez can be reached at lperez@sptimes.com or (727) 892-2271.

Police: Homeless man tries to swim away after breaking into St. Petersburg boats 07/20/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 10:26pm]
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