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Two Pennsylvania men charged in boat theft

Other boaters reported the two men after noticing them in the Indian River Bay Aug. 22.

Delaware News Desk
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control logo.

DNREC Fish and Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested two men from Coatesville, Pennsylvania, for multiple felony criminal charges and boating violations after they stole a boat Aug. 22.

Other boaters in the area noticed Matthew Tortu, 24, and Travis Gooding, 21, before daybreak in a vessel aground on a sandbar in the Indian River Bay. Those boaters reported that and said the occupants were not the owners of that boat.

Natural Resources Police officers responded to the report and arrested Tortu and Gooding at the site upon determining that the Maritime Skiff boat had been stolen earlier that morning from Tuckahoe Acres where it was moored.   

Tortu and Gooding were each charged with one count of felony theft, felony conspiracy, criminal mischief, no boating safety certification, no navigation lights and negligent operation of a motor vessel. Gooding was charged with one count of failure to maintain a proper lookout.

Tortu was arraigned by video phone with Justice of the Peace Court 3 and released on an unsecured bond of $4,040, pending a future court appearance in the Sussex County Court of Common Pleas.

Gooding was arraigned by video phone with Justice of the Peace Court 3 and released on an unsecured bond of $4,050, pending a future court appearance in the Sussex County Court of Common Pleas.

This is an edited police press release. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty.

To report fish, wildlife and boating violations, call the Natural Resources Police at 302-739-4580. Or, use the DENRP Tip app on a smartphone, which can be downloaded free in the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store.