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The U.S. Coast Guard apprehended a man tonight who allegedly took his two kidnapped children from South San Francisco aboard a stolen yacht earlier this week, a Coast Guard spokesman said. The father, identified as Christopher Maffei, 43, surrendered without incident in sailing waters off the Monterey Peninsula shortly before 8 p.m. tonight and the children were found safe on board the boat, Coast Guard spokesman Thomas McKenzie said. He said the children would be checked out by medical personnel, but anticipated they would return home shortly.
South San Francisco police said the yacht was spotted this morning in the waters off of Pillar Point Harbor after local, state and national law enforcement was alerted to the kidnapping. Maffei allegedly abducted his two children, Brooklynn, 3, and Devin, 2, at about 3 p.m. Tuesday in the 100 block of James Court in South San Francisco. Police said Maffei then drove in a rental car to Ballena Isle Marina in Alameda, where he stole a yacht named “Unleashed” and sailed away with the children. A commercial fishing vessel spotted the yacht around 4 a.m. today about 50 miles off the coast from Pillar Point Harbor in San Mateo County, South San Francisco police spokesman Sgt. Bruce McPhillips said.
The operator of the fishing vessel notified the U.S. Coast Guard, and after police were alerted of the sighting, photos were sent to the fishing vessel that helped its operator confirm that it was indeed the stolen yacht, McPhillips said. Coast Guard duty officer Corinne Gaines said a C-130 aircraft from the agency located the vessel and monitored it from the air until crews could get to the scene by boat.
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