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August 17, 2023

Armed man allegedly stole a sailboat and rode it 2 miles down the Delaware River, police say

The U.S. Coast Guard helped arrest the man near the Walt Whitman Bridge about 30 minutes after he allegedly took the boat from Pier 5 marina

Investigations Theft
Stolen Sailboat Delaware River Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Roger Pojar, 31, was arrested Wednesday evening after he allegedly stole a sailboat docked near Penn's Landing and rode it 2 miles south on the Delaware River, police say.

A 31-year-old man was arrested for allegedly stealing a sailboat docked near Penn's Landing in Philadelphia on Wednesday, police said.

Roger Pojar allegedly stole the 28-foot boat from the docks at Pier 5 marina around 6:30 p.m., 6ABC reported. Within 30 minutes, the boat was spotted about 2 miles south on the Delaware River by the police Marine Unit and the U.S. Coast Guard. Pojar was taken into custody near the Walt Whitman Bridge.

Pojar allegedly was armed with a stolen gun, but did threaten anyone with it, authorities said. 

Members of the Liberty Sailing Club were holding a race nearby and noticed the man was departing with one of the club's boats, the Inquirer reported

Jeff Harth, a boat owner who was dining at the pier, told KYW News Radio that he knew something was off when he saw the boat heading south. The race was occurring to the north. 

"It was obvious the guy was not part of the club," Harth said. "I don't know him. I have never seen him before. He wasn't running the boat correctly. He knew enough to get it started but didn't know enough to use it properly; that was my first clue something was wrong because he wasn't running the engine right."

Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said that police don't often receive calls about stolen sailboats. 

"We get stolen vehicles, stolen trucks, sometimes they even steal SEPTA buses, but this is very rare," Small told 6ABC. "For someone to steal a sailboat, not even use the sail, start the engine, and take it for about a 2-mile ride on the Delaware River."

Pojar has been charged with theft, receiving stolen property and three firearms offenses, court records show. He is being held on bail and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 31.