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The Thief of 39

Even after the thief was caught redhanded with items stolen off parked boats at Pier 39, Harbormaster Sheila Chandor was unsure how to proceed. It didn’t make much sense to call the police, since the fenders in question were stolen by . . . a sea otter.

“We don’t know how he got them off, but he had a great time playing with them,” she said of ‘Ollie’, who had little fear of people and soon endeared himself to the Pier 39 crew. But duty was duty, and they tried diligently to retrieve the stolen fenders and return them to boat owners. “There was one particular fender that he really liked and wouldn’t give up. We actually had a tug of war over that one, with him holding onto it with one paw while the other paw hung onto a boat!” The burglaries finally ceased after the Pier 39 crew made Ollie a fender toy of his own.

Ollie was a tagged otter and a few calls revealed that he had been released some weeks earlier in Monterey Bay. Eventually, Monterey Bay Aquarium personnel came and collected the AWOL otter and re-released him somewhere down south.

The foregoing is one of many stories we’ve collected for a feature called ‘A Week in the Life of a Harbormaster’ which will appear in the February issue of Latitude 38, due to hit the streets on January 30. Check it out.

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