HOQUIAM, Wash. - Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers calls them pirates of the Chehalis river, two men seen floating a stolen piece of aluminum valued at $1,300 across the river Tuesday. Myers tells us just before noon his officers were dispatched to a “suspicious circumstance” at the 28th Street Boat Launch in Hoquiam operated by the Port of Grays Harbor. A citizen reported two subjects in a boat carrying a large piece of metal across the Chehalis River to the boat launch.
Aberdeen Officer Jason Perkinson arrived at the scene and contacted two males with the boat. They had just unloaded an approximate 32 inch by 24 foot all aluminum scaffolding platform onto the dock. According to the reporting party, he had watched the two subjects balance the 24 foot platform across the beam of the boat as they motored slowly across the channel. The citizen indicated it was so large it dwarfed the boat and caused it to sit very low in the water.
One of the boaters, Frank E. Clemens, age 49 of Aberdeen, was subsequently arrested on an outstanding misdemeanor warrant from the Aberdeen Municipal Court. He and the other occupant of the boat claimed to have “found” the aluminum scaffolding platform “buried” in the mud on Rennie Island.
It appeared Clemons intended to sell the aluminum for scrap; the current price of aluminum of this nature is 45 cents per pound.
HPD Sgt. Jeff Salstrom was able to locate a company name and phone number on the side of the platform. The company indicated they wanted to recover the item, which new has a value of $1300. Port of Grays Harbor security and maintenance personnel responded to the scene and took possession of the platform until the company could pick it up.
A brief inspection of the boat indicated it lacked a visible serial or hull number and did not display any sort of vessel registration. There also were no personal floatation devices onboard, nor any other required safety equipment.
The boat with motor was impounded by the Hoquiam Police Department and will be held pending an inspection by the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department Marine Unit.
Clemons was booked at the Aberdeen City Jail; his partner was released pending further investigation. Both will be submitted for charges of possession of stolen property.
“This has become another extension of the metal theft epidemic we are battling in the Harbor. I felt it was the best to impound the boat to take it away from those who use these derelict vessels to access remote private property along the water’s edge to steal metal. Ironically enough, we already have another boat impounded at our station which we believe belongs to the same individual.” –Chief Jeff Myers