Two men face burglary charges after taking refuge on a boat in Boca Ciega Bay during some of the peak winds from Hurricane Ian after trying kayak in the stormy and dangerous conditions, according to Gulfport police.
“They went out the morning of the storm while it was still dark. We were originally dispatched at five in the morning on Sept. 29, 2022,” Gulfport Police Sergeant Thomas Woodman wrote in an email to The Gabber.
Police said Gulfport officers were on the water for approximately five hours starting on Sept. 29 to investigate the alleged vessel burglary related to the two kayakers.
“Two men took refuge on a sailboat after their kayaks capsized while they were out paddling during peak winds associated with hurricane Ian,” the Gulfport Police Department said in a statement on the incident. “When a police/EMS crew later went to check on them, they hid in the boat’s cabin where they consumed food and alcoholic beverages that they found on the boat. They also damaged property onboard. They have both been arrested and charged with burglary.”
Police arrested Jeffery Dean Thompson, 32, and Austin Alexander Allison, 25, both of St. Petersburg, on burglary charges, according to court records.
Areas of southwest Florida — including Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach — felt the brunt of Hurricane Ian’s Category 4 winds and dangerous storm surge.
The Tampa-St. Petersburg areas did see significant winds, power outages and turbulent waters.