A father accused of motoring away on a yacht stolen in Alameda with his two young kids aboard, claiming it was to protect them from abuse, faces jail time after pleading no contest to child abduction charges.
Christopher Maffei, 43, could get a maximum of four years four months behind bars for the September odyssey that ended with him surrendering to the Coast Guard with the toddlers unhurt. He entered his pleas to possessing a stolen boat and two counts of child abduction April 19 in San Mateo County Superior Court.
Maffei allegedly snatched his son and daughter, then 3 and 2 years old, from his former girlfriend's South San Francisco home. Prosecutors said he then loaded his children, diapers and food onto the 41-foot yacht Unleashed, which was docked at the Ballena Isle Marina. What his plan was from there remains unclear. But he motored the boat into the Pacific Ocean and eventually ran out of gas.
A fisherman spotted the boat about 50 miles off the San Mateo County coast and called in the sighting to authorities, who later found the yacht and guided it to land.
Maffei and the children, who were OK, had been on the run for about four days.
Prosecutors and the children's mother denied the kids had been abused and no charges ever came from his accusations.
Maffei remains behind bars in lieu of $500,000 bail. He is due to be sentenced June 7.
TUESDAY, APRIL 16 DRUNKEN DRIVING -- Police arrested a woman, 45, on suspicion of drunken driving just before 2 a.m. in the 300 block of 29th Avenue in Oakland near the Park Street Bridge. Another motorist, 30, was arrested for the same offense about 6:35 p.m., police said. The man was initially spotted driving erratically as he was leaving the Bridgeside Shopping Center and led officers on a brief pursuit into Oakland before he was taken into custody, police said. Along with drunken driving, the man was booked on suspicion of violating his probation and driving with a suspended license. RECOVERED STOLEN VEHICLE -- A vehicle reported stolen in Oakland was recovered about 7:55 a.m. in the 1700 block of Chestnut Street. Police also said a vehicle was reported stolen just after 9 p.m. in the 1800 block of Paru Street. BURGLARY -- A burglar used a cinder block to smash a rear sliding glass door of a residence in the 1200 block of Rosewood Way before stealing a jewelry box from a master bedroom, police said. The break-in was reported about 8:30 p.m. Police said someone also broke into storage unit in the 1800 block of Webster Street and stole items from inside in what police have classified as a burglary. It was reported about 4:10 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17 VEHICLE THEFT -- A vehicle was reported stolen about 7:15 a.m. in the 700 block of Pacific Avenue, while another vehicle was reported stolen about 10:15 a.m. in the 1600 block of Everett Street. BURGLARY -- A juvenile faces burglary and possessing stolen property charges after he was arrested on Alameda Avenue, where police said he entered his neighbor's unlocked apartment and stole a purse. While the juvenile returned the purse when the victim confronted him, he was also found with a cell phone stolen during another burglary in the 2100 block of Encinal Avenue, police said. A burglary was also reported at 8:40 p.m. in the 100 block of Seabridge Court, where someone kicked open the front door and ransacked a bedroom while searching for valuables.
THURSDAY, APRIL 18 MARIJUANA POSSESSION -- Police arrested a man, 21, on suspicion of possessing marijuana packaged for sale about 12:40 a.m. in the 600 block of Lincoln Avenue. BURGLARY -- A burglar kicked open the front door of a residence in the 2700 block of Otis Drive before stealing items from inside, police said. The break-in was reported about 1:55 a.m. VEHICLE THEFT -- A vehicle theft was reported at 8 a.m. in the 1200 block of Eagle Avenue. PETTY THEFT -- A man was carrying a reusable bag lined with aluminium foil when he attempted to shoplift merchandise from Safeway at Alameda South Shore Center, police said. A security guard placed the man, 30, under citizen's arrest as he was exiting the supermarket. The man was also booked on suspicion of being under the influence of opiates and a narcotic stimulant, police said. DRUG POSSESSION -- A man, 55, who a patrol officer spotted and knew was wanted on an outstanding felony warrant, was later discovered carrying suspected methamphetamine, police said. The arrest occurred at 3:50 p.m. in the 2300 block of Blanding Avenue.
FRIDAY, APRIL 19 COMMERCIAL BURGLARY -- Someone pried open and stole money from a safe after breaking into a padlocked recycling storage container in the 800 block of Marina Village Parkway. The break-in was reported about 9:50 a.m. PETTY THEFT -- A security guard placed a 49-year-old man under citizen's arrest about 6:30 p.m. after he allegedly shoplifted merchandise at Safeway at Alameda South Shore Center. The man was also accused of violating his probation and carrying an illegal switchblade knife, which police said they found in his bag.
SATURDAY, APRIL 20 BURGLARY -- A residential burglary was reported about 4:20 p.m. in the 100 block of Crolls Garden Court. DRUNKEN DRIVING -- A suspected drunken driver was also arrested on suspicion of child endangerment because she was traveling with a child in the front seat of her vehicle, police said. Police arrested the woman, 51, about 8:20 p.m. following a traffic stop in the 2200 block of Lincoln Avenue, where she allegedly failed field sobriety tests. Another motorist was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving about two hours later at Park Street and Buena Vista Avenue. The 22-year-old man was also accused of possessing an illegal brass knuckles. ROBBERY -- A man shoved an employee at Nob Hill on Blanding Avenue who tried to prevent him from grabbing money from an open register, police said. The man then fled the supermarket with the money. The robbery occurred about 8:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, APRIL 21 FOUND PROPERTY -- An unloaded handgun was found at Robert Crown Memorial State Beach, police said. It happened about 1:45 p.m. at Willow Street and Shoreline Drive. DRUNKEN DRIVING -- Police arrested a man, 21, about 11:10 p.m. on suspicion of drunken driving following a traffic stop in the 1300 block of Broadway, where he allegedly failed field sobriety tests.