According to reports, people who live in boats along the Oakland waterfront increasingly face random robberies and break-ins by pirates who are sneaking aboard their targets and ransacking whatever they can get their hands on.
"It's every week," complained Emmanuel Ievolella, one such marina resident who has been victimized by pirates. "Every week somebody's missing something from their boats or either their dinghies or their outboard motors or from their cars."
Instead of pulling up in a car, doing the deed, and fleeing, these pirates are instead traveling by boat, usually at night. They sneak up on a vessel and steal whatever they can get away with, including from larger more luxurious vessels that are tied up at the docks.
"A couple weeks ago, I saw, for the first time, a high-speed chase on the water with police boats pulling over another boat that was speeding away," said John Fordham, a local resident who lives in an apartment that overlooks the water off Jack London Square.
(Related: Earlier this year, a rabid anti-police activist in Oakland died after being violently robbed.)
Many of the pirates conducting these boat raids appear to be local homeless people who live in public places like Union Point Park, which locals say is suspiciously becoming more occupied with small boats that are tied up nearby.
"And you wonder, where did they get these boats?" asked Jaime Camacho, another local resident who was salvaging teak wood from some older ship hulls when he noticed an increase in boats tied up around Oakland's homeless camps.
"Small boats are expensive. So, I wonder where they're getting them. I don't know. Maybe they're taking what little money they have to buy them, but it's, you know, I know a lot of friends who have had their small boats disappear and their outboard motors."
The real prize in all this, according to Damon Taylor, who maintains a sailboat near the Jack London Aquatic Center, are outboard motors, which sell for a pretty penny.
"Yeah, the motors are the thing," Taylor told the media. "You've got to figure a brand new, small 10-horsepower engine is $10,000 to $15,000. So, even in the black market they can probably get a couple thousand."
Some locals still try to call the police when they witness such crimes taking place, recognizing all the while that law enforcement resources and ability are limited in light of the sheer volume of crime now taking place throughout the Bay Area of California.
"They can't handle the land, financially and resource-wise," Taylor further stated about the matter. "They can't do anything. There's no Oakland Navy."
As such, Taylor and his fellow captains try to do what they can on their own to keep an eye on each other's boats and nab any pirates who may show up to try to look at their property.
"I'll go with it," Taylor said. "I think it sounds cool anyway just to say that we have pirates around here. Since the Raiders are gone, we've had nothing to get p****d off about. So, let's go with pirates, then."
As of this writing, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) currently has just one full-time maritime patrol officer in its ranks. This is not nearly enough to deal with the increasing number of pirate raids occurring throughout the area.
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