Brief joyride ends in grounding of yacht
HOLLYWOOD — A man who stole a luxurious 100-foot yacht and took it on a joy ride while drinking Jack Daniel's whiskey and waving to passing boaters faces felony grand theft charges, police said.
Benjamin Mami, 46, boarded the boat Sunday at Wilshire Marina before rigging it to start and cruising through the Intracoastal Waterway, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Wednesday.
Ken Stanley, whose boat was docked nearby, said he saw a bald man who seemed "comfortable" on the yacht at about 10 a.m. The man waved, so Stanley assumed he was a friend of the owner.
"I saw what I thought was a cup of coffee in his hand, but when I got a closer look, I noticed it was a bottle of Jack Daniel's," Stanley said. "He was drinking it like he was drinking his morning coffee, right out of the bottle."
Mami then allegedly left the dock and began an erratic, albeit short, joy ride, said Hollywood police spokesman Tony Rode. He grounded the yacht on the shore about 500 yards from where he started.
Witnesses told one of the boat's owners, John Choynowski, that the yacht was doing circles in the water.
"The boat was zigging and zagging up the Intracoastal, going north, and then started doing doughnuts," Choynowski said.
Other boater owners were amazed at Mami's brashness.
"What gives him the boldness to hang out on the boat on a weekend when the owner might show up?" Stanley said. "That's amazing."