Tisbury fire chief briefs selectmen about boat vandalism


Tisbury selectmen met Tuesday night for slightly more than two hours, all but 15 minutes of which was in executive session. During the brief public portion, Tisbury fire chief John Schilling told Tisbury selectmen that he had learned of a rash of vandalism over the last several weeks targeting boats owned by commercial scallopers. Chief Schilling said he had been told about incidents where fuel lines and drag-lines were cut and tow motors disabled, and that victims had filed police reports.

The vandalized boats were tied up at Maciel Marine in an area out of range of a security camera, Chief Schilling said, which makes the incidents difficult to investigate without any video footage or witnesses. With that in mind, “It may be time to raise the profile of this,” he told selectmen.

The selectmen and town administrator John Bugbee said no one had brought the issue to their attention.

“We could ask John [Bugbee] to ask the police chief to make sure the area is a high priority for patrolling,” selectman Tristan Israel said.

Although town police officials took part in the executive session discussions, they were not on hand when Mr. Schilling raised his concerns.

In a phone conversation Wednesday, Tisbury Police Chief Dan Hanavan said he was aware of only one police report. That was filed by Ryann Gold, who said someone cut the pull cord to her boat’s engine. Chief Hanavan said he heard from another fisherman who discovered the wire to his bilge pump had been cut but he did not file a police report.

Chief Hanavan said that he had increased patrols in the area of Maciel Marine since the first incident was reported.

Tisbury shellfish constable Danielle Ewart told The Times yesterday that she has heard rumors about the vandalism but has been unable to verify them.