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Man accused of stealing $400K+ sailboat from Sheboygan Yacht Club, described it as ‘a beautiful ride’

Matthew Wilson

SHEBOYGAN — A Sheboygan man is now charged in connection with the theft of a sailboat from the Sheboygan Yacht Club. The accused is Matthew Wilson, 51. He faces the following criminal charges:

  • Theft – movable property (>$100,000)
  • Criminal damage to property (misdemeanor)

According to the criminal complaint, on Saturday, June 15, Sheboygan police officers were called to the Coast Guard station in regards to the theft of a 40-foot sailboat. The yacht was valued at between $400,000 and $450,000. The Coast Guard located the boat and detained the only person on board — Wilson. The sailboat was ultimately towed back to the Coast Guard station.

Lake Michigan in Sheboygan

The complaint indicates the Coast Guard knew where to look for the sailboat because someone on shore alerted them that “there had been a sailboat just floating down by the power plant.” Also, the owner of the boat noticed it was missing and “was eventually able to located it because of an iPad on the boat.”

When police spoke with the owner of the boat, she indicated it had been docked at the Yacht Club — and she last saw the boat around 8 p.m. on Friday, June 14. She said “the boat’s cabin had not been locked.”

Lake Michigan in Sheboygan

When Wilson was questioned by police, the complaint says he “had been kicked out of The Salvation Army for getting into an argument.” Wilson said he “walked to the Yacht Club, boarded a boat, and proceeded to fall asleep. He stated that he slept on the boat for some of the night, left to get breakfast at the Salvation Army…and then returned to the boat.” Wilson apparently said “he fell asleep and was later awoken by the Coast Guard.” The complaint says Wilson “admitted to entering the boat, finding keys for it, starting it and driving it to its final destination. He ended his statements by saying that he went under to roll a cigarette and the next thing he knew the boat ran ashore.” Wilson told law enforcement at one point, “It was a beautiful ride, it was a beautiful ride at least.”

A preliminary breath test on Wilson came back with a reading of .162 — or double the legal limit.

Wilson made his initial appearance in Sheboygan County court on Tuesday, June 18. He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, June 26.

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