Victoria man charged with stealing yacht, leaving dead fish at ‘Goonies’ house rescued by U.S. Coast Guard

Victoria man charged with stealing yacht, leaving dead fish at 'Goonies' house rescued by U.S. Coast Guard
U.S. Coast Guard AET1 Kyle Turcotte/Twitter
A Victoria man was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard after the yacht he allegedly stole capsized.

A Victoria man was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guards Friday from a yacht he allegedly stole, after he left a dead fish at the house The Goonies was filmed in.

U.S. Coast Guard officers responded to a mayday call just after 10 a.m. Friday morning at the mouth of the Columbia River, approximately 10 kilometres off the coast of Oregon. Over a dozen people including instructors, students, and flight mechanics from Station Cape Disappointment and two nearby schools for Coast Guard members were on scene to assist.

“Due to the conditions on scene, the initial plan was to lower the swimmer, have the swimmer enter the water and kinda retrieve the survivor in that method,” said USCG Petty Officer Michael Clark.

In the stunning video, the Coast Guard sent a swimmer to rescue the stranded man, where they were met with a 20-foot (six-metre) wave.

After several minutes, the rescue swimmer — identified as John “Branch” Walton — was able to save the stranded man. Walton was a student and was on his first rescue mission. Clark says Walton graduated hours later from the Advanced Rescue Helicopter School.

“He was tossed around a little bit but he’s absolutely fine and he’s en route back to his actual permanent unit in North Bend, Oregon,” said Clark.

More than an hour after the mayday call, crews transported the rescued man and was treated by medics at Coast Guard Base Astoria and was shortly discharged.

That same day, the Astoria Police Department contacted the Coast Guard that the man who was rescued from the yacht was suspected of stealing it.

Police identified the man as 35-year Jericho Labonte from Victoria.

“Apparently sometime yesterday he stole a boat valued at $160,000 USD called The Sandpiper. He stole it from the Port of Astoria and made it out to the pacific ocean,” said Astoria Police Chief Stacy Kelly in a phone interview with CBC.

Labonte was later arrested at a warming centre. Kelly says the man is currently in custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.


On Feb. 1, Kelly received a call that Labonte had left a dead fish on the doorstep of the home where the 1985 movie The Goonies was filmed. The man is now facing several charges in Oregon including theft, criminal mischief, and endangering another person.

“The person that knows him, and knows his history from Canada called us to report that that’s who it was, that he was acting odd, and had outstanding warrants from Canada,” said Kelly.

On Jan. 19, Victoria Police issued a B.C.-wide warrant for Jericho Labonte on criminal harassment, mischief, and failure to comply charges. In the original release, VicPD said Labonte’s age was 36, while Astoria Police say the man they arrested is 35.

VicPD have not confirmed if this is the same person.

“We are still waiting for confirmation that this is the same male we are looking for,” wrote VicPD spokesperson Const. Terri Healy in an emailed statement to CHEK News.

READ MORE: Victoria Police turn to public for help finding wanted man Jericho Labonte

In a video posted to a Facebook account under Labonte’s name, a large fish can be seen on the doorstep of The Goonies house.

“Best $500 I’ve ever f—ing spent. Thanks, British Columbia,” said Labonte in the video.

Language in the video may be offensive to some viewers.

Last month, the home was purchased by Goonies superfan Behman Zakari for $1.7 million. Zakari only lives there part time, and did not expect to find a fishy surprise on his doorstep.

“Goonies are welcomed to respectfully come up the drive, take their picture, you know we joke saying do the truffle shuffle, all in good taste,” said Zakari.

“But not if you’re going to do criminal mischief or you got bad intentions and bring a dead fish, like no we don’t want that.”

Zakari was alerted of the situation by his neighbours who say they had to scare him off. He adds that Labonte left behind stickers around the house and on his security camera lenses.

Since his purchase, Zakari’s sole purpose with the home was to revitalize and preserve as much of the landmark as he can.

“We’ve got an engineering team, all volunteers, that are going to rebuild the Rube Goldberg contraption in the front yard so that’ll open the gate,” said Zakari.

He also plans to remodel the home to its original movie style, install a zip line, and hopefully get the original cast to act out scenes.

“Whether they do it or not, but I’d love for some of them to replay some of the fun scenes in the living room,” said Zakari. “You know, maybe tie up Josh Brolin again and ride bikes down the hill.”

Oli HerreraOli Herrera

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