After we bought our boat, we moved her into our neighborhood marina, where we could start the fixer-upper process. It was docked in a well-lit boat slip, merely 3 blocks from our home.
Every morning, George walked down to the boat to work on her.The morning of September 19th, 2006, he returned home in tears. Someone had broken into Marquesa, smashing her custom teak hatches into splinters. The salon was trashed, pieces of teak were in the cockpit, and our flareguns were gone. We decided that from then on, we would have to sleep on her at night to protect her.
S/V Marquesa represented our life dream and most of our money was poured into her. We were determined to protect our assets! Starting that night, we slept on the boat. I brought sheets down and arranged the settees in the main cabin into a somewhat uncomfortable full size bed. I also brought some toys left over from my law enforcement days, all legal and registered, just in case.
It was hot that evening, and we left the ports open. We slept fitfully, unaccustomed to the motion of the boat in her slip. At 0113 hours, I woke up to the sound of voices on the finger pier next to us. I shook George awake, and he sat up just as several pairs of feet passed by the window. George immediately reached out and grabbed an ankle. heh heh. At the same time, someone shook our hatch door. George held on to the ankle, and in his best scary voice, shouted bad things to the intruders. Meanwhile, I, in bare feet and flimsy tanktop, grabbed my pepper spray and raced towards the hatch prepared to confront our guests. George beat me to the steps, after letting go of the foot, but I pushed him aside in an adenaline rush. I burst through the hatch in time to see 4 teenagers scrambling off our boat, tripping over each other onto the finger pier and running down the dock. The chase was on! Woohoo! I always did love a good foot chase. It was one of the many things I missed about my old job.
I raced down the dock in my bare feet while my flat-footed husband encouraged me on with a mighty, “Go get’em, honey!” and calmly waited on the dock. I chased the boys off the dock, down the street and up the next block. And then they stopped running. I guess they had never been chased before and figured wrongly that I had given up. Fools. By the time they turned around and saw me, I was on top of them.
One of the punkasses grabbed a PVC pipe and lunged towards me, followed by 3 of his buddies. Silly boys. I let loose with the pepper spray and stepped back to enjoy the show. Since all 4 of them were bigger than me, and since I no longer possess any authorized police powers, I did the only thing that was available to me. I briefly lectured them about their stupidity, memorized their appearance, and walked back to the boat.
George and I sat on the boat, replaying the sequence of events, as the realization of how close I came to shooting them sunk in. If I had woken up a minute later while they were heading down those steps, I would have grabbed my gun instead of the pepper spray, and it would have been a tragedy for everyone involved, including me. No matter how justified I would have been in shooting them (and it would have been justified based on prior case law) I do not want to go through the rest of my life knowing I killed someone – especially a dumbass kid.
As we waited for the police to show up, the 4 boys sauntered down the road, still sneezing and coughing. I followed them keeping out of sight. A beat up hooptie suddenly screeched down the road and stopped next to the boys. After a brief conversation, the car took off again, this time stopping in front of the dock. 2 females exited the car – the mother and sister of one of the boys. George doubled back to the dock to deal with them, while I continued following the boys. As the woman headed down the dock towards our boat, George bellowed, “You! On the dock! STATE YOUR BUSINESS!” She stammered a bit, and then said she wanted “a piece of that woman who maced her son.” George calmly told her that “that woman” was a retired cop, and her son and his friends were trying to break into our boat. The mother replied, “My son had an asthma attack, and they were just on your boat trying to find help.”
She really said that.
George informed her that the police were on their way and suggested that they all wait for them and together decide what laws were broken. The mom looked a bit befuddled for a moment and got back in her car and drove away – but not before George memorized her tag number. Because of his dyslexia, he had to repeat the tag number over and over in his head.
I lost the kids after they cut through some backyards. The police arrived, and George told them what had transpired that morning. The officer lectured George about how citizens shouldn’t chase anyone, blah, blah, blah…George let him finish and told him I was retired PG. The officer was silent for a moment and finally said, “Well, did you get a tag number?”
The officers were able to identify all 4 teenagers and knew where they lived. Charges were filed, 2 confessions were obtained, and I identified one of them in a lineup. Anne Arundel Police did an outstanding job following up the incident and pursuing criminal charges. Looking at their arrest records since that incident, it’s obvious that they will spend a good portion of their adult years in jail.
We slept on Marquesa every night for the next 4 years until we set sail. In that time, our alarm warned us of one more would-be intruder, several curious cats, a couple of teenage lovebirds looking for some privacy on the dock, and a power boat on fire. Now that we’re away from the dock, we’re sleeping better. But we’re still prepared for uninvited guests, just in case.
We bought a cannon.