A Wyoming man who stole a $2 million yacht from a Sausalito marina and ran it aground in Pacifica was expected to leave San Mateo County Jail today for the first time since his arrest in March, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Barbara Mallach said this morning that in light of Leslie Alan Gardner’s mental health issues, a sentence of five years probation and one year in the county jail was appropriate, Wagstaffe said.
As part of his sentence, Gardner, 63, must remain in California and pay $1.38 million in restitution. With credit for time served, Wagstaffe said this afternoon that Gardner would be released just as soon as the county is done with processing, likely today. Gardner and a couple from Aptos allegedly stole the 82-foot long vessel, named “Darling” from the Sausalito Yacht Harbor on March 4. Prosecutors said the trio partied, drinking beer and eating pizza aboard the boat as they cruised around the Bay and subsequently into the ocean.
Around 6 a.m. Pacifica police were called out to the Linda Mar Beach, where the boat had run aground in shallow water. The vessel was freed and towed to Richmond for repairs. On Sept. 11, Gardner pleaded no contest to grand theft, receiving stolen property in excess of $3.2 million and vandalism. The couple, who were dating at the time, were never charged in the incident.
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