3 Rescued from Water After Canoe They Stole Capsizes

LEONARDTOWN, Md. (Aug. 11, 2008)—Authorities on Saturday morning rescued three men in the Potomac River near Piney Point after their canoe capsized. The problem was the men say they stole the canoe from a residence on Camp Merrelande Rd. at approximately 3:00 that morning.

On Saturday at approximately 9:50 a.m. a citizen reported a man floating on the water surface with the aid of a styrofoam cooler in the area of Camp Merryelande Road in Piney Point. Local police responded to the scene and requested the assistance of Emergency Medical Services.

Maryland Natural Resources Police, Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, Valley Lee Rescue Squad, and Trooper 7 arrived on the scene and were able to rescue the man from the water unharmed.

The victim, Herbert Omar Fuentes-Barrios, age 32, of Woodbridge, Va. told police that he and two other companions had stolen a canoe from a nearby residence on Camp Merrelande Rd. at approximately 3:00 a.m., taking it out into the water. Fuentes-Barrios told police the canoe capsized and he held on to the cooler until rescue personnel arrived.

After being advised that two other men might be in the water, authorities conducted a search using Maryland State Police helicopter Trooper 7. The crew spotted the two men clinging to the overturned canoe approximately 400 yards from the campground. The men were rescued from the water by Boat 6 of the Valley Lee Volunteer Fire Department and were found to be unharmed.

The two men, Juan M. Vargas-Paredes, age 32, and Ruben R.Solis, age 32, both of Woodbridge, Va. were seen by medical personnel on the scene and released.

The three men were ultimately taken into custody, charged with theft over $500, unauthorized removal of private property and incarcerated in the Detention Center pending a hearing before the District Court Commissioner.

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