GULFPORT, Fla. (WFLA) — Two Pinellas County kayakers who were reported missing after getting swept up in a current following Hurricane Ian have been charged with burglary.
News Channel 8 spoke with a third kayaker on Sept. 29 as he awaited his friends’ return. Gulfport Fire Rescue said a Coast Guard helicopter located the pair on a sailboat anchored in Boca Ciega Bay and first responders were getting ready to ride out to rescue them.
Capsized kayakers found on sailboat off Pinellas County coast
In an arrest affidavit filed Wednesday, Gulfport police said the two kayakers did not respond to the rescue attempt. Police tried to make contact with Austin Allison, 25, who they said was initially standing on the deck of the sailboat, but went below with Jeffery Thompson Jr., 30, as police approached.
Gulfport police said they searched numerous other vessels as well, but did not find anyone in need of rescue.
The sailboat’s owner reported that the interior of the boat was ‘trashed’, with drawers open and items strewn around the cabin. Police said two nearly-empty bottles of Fireball liquor were found inside, as well as a knife stuck into damaged wood cabinetry.
Police arrested Thompson on Wednesday and Allison on Thursday. They were both charged with burglary of an unoccupied structure.