Samuel Patrick McDonough wanted to celebrate his birthday last month by cruising from Seattle to Victoria, B.C. aboard the 132-foot Clipper IV, a fast passenger-only ferry.
He could have purchased a ticket for about $86. Instead, he stole the boat.
A Seattle judge on January 24 told McDonough the true cost of his early morning theft - 29 months in jail.
On December 1 – his 33rd birthday – he climbed through a small hole in a security fence at Seattle’s Pier 69, where the Clipper IV was moored. He found the keys in the unlocked pilothouse, started the engines and loosened the mooring lines. A company executive saw the ferry was missing when he arrived later that morning. It was spotted drifting in Elliott Bay.
Seattle police sent a hostage negotiator to the vessel, but that effort failed. A police SWAT team then boarded the ferry and arrested McDonough.
In court documents, McDonough said he took the ferry “on a whim as a birthday present to himself” because he wanted to go to Victoria. The Seattle Times reported officers also said McDonough described himself as a pirate, that his name was Zero and that he asked police to bring him a woman because he was lonely.
McDonough is a convicted sex offender who lives in Preston, a rural community in the Cascade foothills southeast of Seattle.
McDonough, who represented himself in court, asked the judge for a lighter sentence because he had confessed.
He also complained it was unfair that he had to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet or register as a sex offender because he thought his sex offenses were not all that bad. He told the court: “I was high on meth when I decided to show my penis to a coffee stand barista . . . At the time I figured in could be the same as a girl showing her boobs. You know. Attractive.”