Fisherman snatches panga, officers arrest fisherman
February 17, 2015
A fisherman cited maritime law in claiming a panga he found Monday in Santa Barbara County as his possession, but law enforcement officials said the boat belonged to them and arrested the man. [KEYT]
Eric Bjorklund and two other fishermen spotted the panga almost entirely submerged near El Capitan around 8 a.m. Monday. They were searching for sea urchins at the time.
The fishermen then spent an hour removing the water from the boat, tied the panga to their vessel and took off. Bjorkland wrote his name and the date on the side of the boat.
As the fishermen began to tow the panga, a Coast Guard helicopter circled overhead. Then, authorities from the Coast Guard and Homeland Security, as well as Santa Barbra police and harbor patrol escorted the fishermen towing the boat to Santa Barbara.
When they docked, Bjorklund refused to give up the panga, which he estimates is worth $40,000 with its two new motors. Law enforcement officials told Bjorklund the boat is evidence in a criminal investigation.
They arrested him for misdemeanor possession of evidence.