BELLINGHAM - A man was arrested on suspicion of stealing a $500,000 yacht from Squalicum Harbor and taking it on a four-hour tour of Bellingham Bay on Monday afternoon, Sept. 3.
The boat owner got a call from a friend at 3:45 p.m. Monday: The 52-foot Nordic Tug was headed north, "full-throttle," through Hale Passage near Lummi Island, said Bellingham police spokesman Mark Young. The friend wanted to know why he was in such a rush.
But the boat owner, a man in his 60s, was at home and didn't know what his friend was talking about. He went down to the dock and saw that his boat, worth a little less than $500,000, was missing. So he called 911.
Just after 7 p.m., the boat was spotted motoring into the harbor. Police waited on the dock to arrest the alleged driver, Jason Edward Nollmeyer, 37. Nollmeyer insisted the boat belonged to him, but the boat owner assured police he'd never met the man, Young said.
Nollmeyer was also carrying a substance that tested positive for methamphetamine, Young said. Police weighed 0.4 gram of the drug, counting the bag it was in.
Nollmeyer was booked into Whatcom County Jail on investigation of theft in the first degree and possession of methamphetamine.
Young didn't have details about how the boat was stolen and declined to say which dock it was taken from.
Nollmeyer has a pair of felonies and a handful of gross misdemeanors on his record.
In 2007, he stole a man's $2,100 motorcycle by pushing it from an apartment parking lot, according to court records. He had punched a nail through the ignition and was trying to scrape off the license plate tab when the owner confronted him about a block down the street. Nollmeyer insisted the bike was his and threw a bottle at the owner before running away. He was arrested and later sentenced to 20 days in jail for theft and assault.
Nollmeyer was convicted of felony assault in 2011 for knocking a man out with one punch at the Aloha Motel, 315 N. Samish Way, according to court records. Nollmeyer was swearing and calling people names in one of the motel rooms. The victim told him to leave. Nollmeyer responded by punching the man in the face, causing a blowout fracture to his eye area. For that crime, he served three months in jail.
Reach CALEB HUTTON at email@example.com or call 715-2276.