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San Diego man arrested on suspicion of stealing yacht, crashing into docked vessels in Newport Beach

Posted at 10:33 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 20:21:30-05

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (CNS) - A San Diego man was taken into custody Thursday after authorities said he allegedly stole a docked yacht and took it on a joyride before colliding with other vessels in Newport Harbor.

Joel Siam, 38, was taken into custody on suspicion of stealing the 60-foot yacht, according to Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities were called about 9:20 a.m. regarding the stolen yacht, which was being serviced when it was taken, Braun said. Because it was being serviced, the keys were left on board. It was stolen when the person repairing it had stepped away, she added.

“It was a movie. I’ve never seen anything like this. It was crazy and I didn’t know what to say," said Tyler Van Twist.

Van Twist walked out of his Newport Beach real estate office to see the incident unfold.

“Initially, we got up and were like, ‘Grab your phone! Grab your phone! We got to see this. This guy's going to crash.’ This was not going to end well. We could tell he had no control over the boat. So that was the initial reaction, to get up to observe [and] to make sure nobody was getting hurt," he explained.

He wasn't the only one, Kai Macartney was working on the dock when he heard the commotion.

“I heard the initial crash when he took it. Looked outside saw him doing circles in the harbor going backward. I stepped out of the boat watched it do its thing," he said.

Siam allegedly crashed the yacht into multiple other boats, damaging at least two and perhaps a third while joyriding around the harbor before it eventually slammed into the sea wall next to the Lido Island Bridge, Braun said.

One person was injured onboard one of the boats that were damaged, Braun said.

Debora Dolly, who was inside one of the vessels the man collided with, told Los Angeles TV station CBS2 that the force of the collision caused part of her boat to crash in on her and hit her head. However, she told the station she was not seriously injured.

No further injuries were reported. The extent of the damage caused during the theft was not immediately known.