Alleged boat thief caught

EAST LIVERPOOL – One man is in custody and several are at-large following the apparent theft of three boats from the Ohio Valley Boat Club early Saturday morning, police said.

A multi-agency, interstate search on the Ohio River resulted in the arrest of Clarence Wright, East Liverpool police said. Officers had to subdue him with a Taser after chasing him on the water and on foot, a police report said.

Details about the incident are sketchy, but a police report outlines a concerted theft attempt involving several suspects around 4 a.m. Saturday.

Responding to a 911 call, police met a man at the boat club who said three boats had just been stolen. The man was holding onto a fourth boat which the suspects attempted to steal by cutting the ignition wires, the report said.

East Liverpool police contacted the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department because most of the Ohio River is within the state of West Virginia, and a boat was deployed. Soon thereafter, the responding officer found one boat floating in the vicinity of AM&O Towing, near the Jennings Randolph Bridge.

Hancock County officers then spotted two boats running without lights near Newell, W.Va. They gave pursuit, and one of the boats was beached at Yellow Creek, the report said. The suspects fled on foot.

The third boat was pursued back toward East Liverpool, while a police captain watched the stolen boat pass under the Newell Bridge and toward Parsons Coal, at Jackson Street and West Second Street, the report said.

A few minutes later, the boat headed back toward the Newell Bridge and was beached directly under the bridge, the report said. The captain on the bridge heard the suspects leave the boat, walk through a wooded area and come out on the train tracks, the report said.

The suspects were described as two white males, one being taller than the other, with a thin build and blond hair and wearing a dark-colored hoodie.

The suspects first headed east on the train tracks, then west back toward the bridge. Other police units responded, and an officer encountered the suspects on the train tracks.

The men were ordered to stop, then fled west. Officers lost sight of the taller man, but kept visual contact with Wright as he fled toward a wooded area near the state Route 30/39 highway.

Wright was located running across West Church Lane and toward West Fourth Street. He was ordered to stop but kept fleeing, finally being subdued by officers with a Taser, the report said.

Investigation into the incident is continuing.