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Man arrested after pilotless boat crashes onto Daytona Beach

Suspect says Four Loko to blame

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Authorities said the man accused of stealing a boat that later crashed unmanned onto a Daytona Beach blames his actions on drinking too much Four Loko.

The 36-foot boat was pilotless when it ran aground at full throttle Saturday morning, scattering beachgoers.

Volusia County Beach Ocean Rescue officials said 20-year-old Jonathan Race of Daytona Beach was arrested Sunday. He's charged with two counts of burglary and grand theft of a vehicle worth less than $100,000. He remained in the county jail Monday morning. A lawyer isn't listed on jail records.

Officials said the boat's owner was located Saturday. He told investigators he hadn't been driving it and no one he knows had taken it out, either.

Word spread quickly around the Daytona Marina on Monday about the incident.

"I think he's nuts (and) needs to find something more constructive with his time than ripping off boats," said Jeremiah Murphy, a scuba diver. 

Police said Race not only trashed two other boats at the Daytona Marina and Boat Works, but stole the one he crashed early Saturday morning.

"It looks like an odd robbery that could have been a vandalism because they just sort of did weird things, like pulled a screen out from the exterior of the boat. They threw a bunch of stuff out around the boat. And there are a bunch of liquor bottles that are half full," said an employee on the phone with 911.

Race told police a couple of Four Loko's from the 711 store across the street are to blame for stealing the vessel, then crashing it on the beach miles away.

"Poor choice in alcohol and I think he should have thought twice about stealing somebody's boat. (I) think he's going to have quite the penalty to pay," Murphy said.

Police were able to track down Race as the suspect because they found his wallet and phone in his shorts left behind on the stolen boat.  Authorities said Race walked to his friend's Port Orange home but did not know how he scored another pair of pants. He was arrested a short time later.

The marina declined to comment on the incident but turned over surveillance video to police. The stolen boat was initially at the marina for repairs and was returned Saturday night. The boat owner is out of town.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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