Pete Shaw went to the sea for adventure....."
Then, he came to Sarasota and found rich people and their attorneys.
The good Cap'n Shaw made the mistake of anchoring just a little too close off Bird Key to suit one anonymous resident who called the Sarasota Police Dept. to scuttle the scurvy dog.
So, they did.
The local constabulary slapped him with a $250 ticket for being parked 148 feet shy of the 500-ft. required by local ordinance. The skipper intends to fight, based partly on a portion of Florida state law that prohibits the regulation of anchorage by local governments. And he has experts to back him up, including the legal eagles at Boat US, a boating group with 600,000 members.
Sarasota's legal authority, city attorney Bob Fournier, says that the state law does not apply to Sarasota, as do so many other laws, including those of physics, nature and common sense. Fournier is betting that Sarasota has deeper pockets than this bilge rat and will take this case all the way to the Supreme Court, as city and county attorneys are wont to do when things get slow around the office. Gotta show the taxpayers that they're earning their salaries, you know......
Shaw began his love affair with the open sea when he was just a lad, tooling around Sarasota Bay on his parent's dining room table, which he outfitted with a cast-off Evinrude.
After being thrown out of the house by his parents who were incensed at having to eat on the floor, young Pete built his own houseboat with all the comforts of home, including a private party deck with wet bar (ever popular with the ladies), and lived the good life cruising up and down the west coast of Florida.
Shaw even built his own runabout to access the shore when he couldn't maneuver his vessel into shallow water.
Over the years, Cap'n Shaw finally worked his way up to the boat of his dreams and proudly sailed his sleek 35-footer luxury cruiser, christened Chicken of the Sea, throughout the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and the south Atlantic. You can imagine his chagrin at being told by the Sarasota Police Dept. that some landlubber objected to him anchoring his pride and joy outside of their picture window, saying that he and his boat were bastardizing their view of the bay. "It's like a stranger coming up to you and telling you that you have an ugly baby," says Shaw.
Shaw, as likely to get a fair a shake from law enforcement in Sarasota as Juan Perez before the videotape of him getting kicked was made public, has taken matters into his own hands. Authorities allege that Shaw silently made his way ashore on Bird Key in the dead of night yesterday and terrorized the wealthy enclave by threatening to burn down the guard house at the entrance, thereby allowing anyone and everyone--the 'common people', Shaw called them--to come onto the exclusive island.
For the appalled residents, the idea of mere peasants setting foot on their island paradise was too much to bear, so they identified the anonymous complainant. Shaw immediately set his beard afire and choked the man to death, as seen in this surveillance photo:
Shaw remains at large, although authorities believe he may be headed for the Outer Banks region of North Carolina, specifically Ocracoke Island, where local law enforcement intends to behead him and place his head on a pike when he is apprehended, as requested by the residents of Bird Key.