A 30-year-old Gloucester man and 37-year-old Ipswich resident, piloting a small motor boat while flying the "skull and crossbones" flag of pirate ships of old, allegedly boarded and tried to rob a sailboat moored in Gloucester's Inner Harbor, only to be turned back by the boat's occupant and cornered by the U.S. Coast Guard in, coincidentally, Pirates Cove.
Scott D. Stanton, 30, of 25 Echo Ave., Gloucester, and Stephen Jette, 37, of Ipswich, were arrested by Gloucester police late Thursday night and each arraigned Friday on a charge of breaking and entering in Gloucester District Court.
Stanton was also charged with breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony, threatening to commit a crime and intimidating a witness.
According to police, the incident played out in the East Gloucester coves and Inner Harbor, where sailboat owner Douglas Campbell of Beverly had taken a transient mooring for his vessel for the night.
Police said Campbell was awakened when the two would-be robbers pulled their vessel alongside his, then boarded the sailboat. But when he confronted the two men, the pair retreated to the outboard and sped off.
Campbell told authorities that the motorboat was flying the traditional black-and-white pirate flag of the "skull and crossbones." The boat was located in Pirates Cove by the Coast Guard on one of the city's Homeland Security surveillance cameras.
Campbell had called the Coast Guard after the incident, and the Coast Guard called the Gloucester Police Department, which sent a pair of officers, Brian J. Aiello and Sgt. Tom Williams, to go by water with the Coast Guard. Two other officers, Patrolmen Kevin Mackey and Kevin Muise, also drove to the Smith's Cove and Pirates Lane area and searched for the vessel used in the reported robbery attempt, according to the police report.
The small center console outboard boat used to reach the sailboat was still flying the pirate flag when the seized boat sat adjacent to the Coast Guard station on Harbor Loop on Friday afternoon.
Police said the alleged intimidation charge filed against Stanton stems from a warning issued to Campbell after he awakened and confronted them on his boat. "We've got a gun and if you come closer, we'll use it," one of the men said to Stanton, according to the police report. "If you follow us, we'll come back and get you." Police, however, did not find a weapon on board the boat when they searched it.
Stanton, of 25 Echo Ave., Gloucester, was held due to an outstanding bench warrant for his arrest issued in Salem for multiple offenses. He is scheduled to be transferred to Salem District Court on Monday.
The bench warrant against Stanton was issued for an alleged parole violations, a spokeswoman for the Essex County District Attorney's Office said Friday. Stanton had been charged in September 2010 with felony breaking and entering and threatening to commit murder, stemming from a case in which he reportedly kicked in a door at a Beverly home and threatened to murder the resident; it was not clear Friday whether those charges were involved in the alleged parole violation.
Jette, charged with breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony, was released Friday on personal recognizance.
Gloucester police said that Campbell reported nothing had apparently been taken from his sailboat.
Richard Gaines can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3464, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.