Newport Harbor stolen yacht suspect charged with multiple felonies

A man accused of stealing a yacht and taking it on a joyride in Newport Harbor was charged Monday with multiple counts of vandalism and grand theft.

Joel Praneet Siam, 38, of San Diego, was charged with eight counts of vandalism and single counts each of grand theft, buying or receiving a stolen vehicle and battery with serious bodily injury, all felonies. He was also charged with one misdemeanor count of vandalism and faces a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury on a victim.

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Siam allegedly swiped the 60-foot yacht Thursday, according to Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Police were called about 9:20 a.m. regarding the stolen yacht, which was being serviced when it was taken, Braun said. Because it was being serviced, the keys were left on board. It was stolen when the person repairing it had stepped away, she added.

Siam, who listed his occupation as a CEO in jail records, allegedly crashed the yacht into multiple other boats, damaging at least two and perhaps a third while joyriding around the harbor before it eventually slammed into the sea wall next to the Lido Island Bridge, Braun said.

One person was injured on board one of the damaged boats, Braun said.

Debora Dolly, who was aboard one of the vessels the yacht struck, told CBS2 the force of the collision caused part of her boat to crash in on her and hit her head. But she told the station she was not seriously hurt.

No further injuries were reported. The extent of the damage caused during the theft was not immediately known.

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