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USCG Helps Canadian Police Catch a Wanted Man Aboard a Stolen Boat

rcmp stolen sailboat
Image courtesy RCMP

Published Jun 3, 2022 5:03 PM by The Maritime Executive

Last month, a U.S. Coast Guard boatcrew and a team of Royal Canadian Mountain Police shipriders - embarked as part of a joint Coast Guard / RCMP border patrol partnership - arrested two individuals aboard a stolen Canadian sailboat.

On May 4, a Coast Guard Station Bellingham boatcrew and shipriders from the RCMP were conducting a routine patrol when they spotted a small white-and-blue sailboat near the U.S.-Canadian maritime border. It appeared that the vessel had no power, as the two individuals aboard were rowing.

The two men aboard told the patrol boat's crew that they had run out of fuel. When the boatcrew offered to tow the sailboat to a U.S. port for help, the two men said that they would rather return to Canadian waters by sail power. 

A records search indicated that neither of the men aboard were the registered owner of the sailboat. Canadian police records revealed that one of the men was wanted in British Columbia on an outstanding arrest warrant. The other man was subject to a standing order that forbade him from boarding any vessel he does not own or possess. 

After the sailboat returned to Canadian waters, the shiprider crew boarded it and arrested the wanted man on his outstanding warrants. They allowed the second man to continue on while they investigated the status of the sailboat itself. 

On further inquiry, investigators located the boat's registered owner and learned that the vessel had been recently stolen from its mooring in Cadboro Bay, Victoria.

The next day, an RCMP shiprider crew located the sailboat again at a position south of Pender Island. The same man, identified as Thomas Richard Cudworth, was allegedly found at the helm. He was arrested on charges of possession of stolen property and failure to comply with his restrictions on boating. In a search of the sailboat, the RCMP found tools and an inflatable launch that were also alleged to be stolen. 

Cudworth is scheduled to appear in court in Victoria, BC on June 15.

“This arrest highlights the importance of the steadfast partnership that Sector Puget Sound maintains with RCMP through the Shiprider program in order to ensure an effective presence and combat illicit cross-border activity,” said Capt. Patrick Hilbert, commander of Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound.