A homeless Seattle man already facing charges on allegations that took up residence in a vessel at the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle has been charged in another boat break-in.
Filing charges, King County prosecutors contend Bryan E. Elwell was caught Tuesday fleeing from a 35-foot boat moored at the City of Kirkland Marina. Elwell had been released from jail three weeks before following his arraignment on similar charges related to a February break in at the Lake Union boat center.
According to the charging documents filed in the new case, the boat's owner spotted Elwell running from the boat just before 11 a.m. The man followed Elwell to a nearby business, where police arrested him.
Examining his boat, the vessel's owner noticed that a portable generator had been pulled onto the main deck and that one door lock had been broken, according to court statements. The boat owner also reported "a pungent odor" not otherwise described in charging documents.
Speaking with officers, Elwell, 42, is alleged to have admitted to being on the boat while ranting that the boat was not locked.
"It wasn't locked," Elwell told police, prosecutors claim. "If it were locked, there would not be (a) problem."
Elwell is alleged to have offered a similar opinion following his previous arrest after a string of break-ins at Center for Wooden Boats.
At 2:45 p.m. on Feb. 22, a carpenter aboard a 64-year-old sailboat, the Merry Maiden, discovered that a hole had been cut in a dust cloth inside the 60-foot-long ship's cabin. Hearing a noise above, the carpenter emerged to see a man fleeing the boat on foot.
The carpenter chased the man, trying to take a photo of him. The man, identified by King County prosecutors as Elwell, then ran away.
An examination of the sailboat revealed that the intruder had helped himself to three bottles of Samuel Adams beer and a package of cookies stored in the ship's pantry.
Just before 10 p.m., the intruder returned to the Center for Wooden Boats, according to charging documents. The carpenter who'd discovered the man earlier in the day saw him climbing about another sailboat -- the Rubaiya T -- and phoned police.
Seattle police officers arriving at the center arrested Elwell aboard the boat.
Interviewed by police, Elwell allegedly said he'd been evicted from his apartment, then booted out of a tent city homeless encampment.
"Elwell claimed … if the boat owners would lock their boats, he would not have gone in," a Seattle detective told the court. "Elwell stated that he was only looking for warmth in the boat and then changed his story to he was ensuring that the boat wasn't going to sink."
Police contend Elwell's fingerprints were found on a beer bottle and an opened cookie package aboard the Merry Maiden.
Elwell has now been charged with two counts of first-degree vehicle prowl. He remains confined at King County Jail.