DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested Matthew Tortu, 24, and Travis Gooding, 21, both of Coatsville, Pa., on Aug. 22 on multiple felony criminal charges and boating violations in response to and after investigating a report of a stolen vessel.
Police reported that the suspects were allegedly observed before daybreak on Aug. 22 in a vessel aground on a sandbar in the Indian River Bay, by other boaters in the area who reported the incident and that the vessel occupants were not the owners of the vessel. Natural Resources Police officers responded to the report and arrested Tortu and Gooding at the site upon determining that the Maritime Skiff vessel had allegedly been stolen earlier that morning from Tuckahoe Acres, where it was moored.
Tortu and Gooding were charged with one count each of felony theft, felony conspiracy, criminal mischief, no boating safety certification, no navigation lights and negligent operation of a motor vessel. Gooding was also 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.