Worcester Telegram and Gazette August 24th 1994
SOUTHBORO - Two National Guardsmen training in upstate New York were charged with grand larceny after
someone took liberties with Uncle Sam early yesterday morning.
Thomas J. Gately, 24, and Joel R. Perkal, 23, both of 110 Turnpike Road, were arrested by New York State
Police on grand larceny charges and held on $100,000 cash bail in the theft of a 65-foot tour boat belonging
to Uncle Sam Boat Tours in Alexandria Bay, N.Y.
Gately and Perkal had been training with a Massachusetts National Guard unit stationed at Fort Drum, east of
Watertown, N.Y. Maj. Marty Culp, a Fort Drum spokesman, said the 110th Massachusetts National Guard
cavalry unit is the only unit now training at the fort.
About 2 a.m. yesterday, according to Dan Sacco, police chief in Alexandria Bay, two men cut the boat's
moorings and drifted with the vessel into the St. Lawrence River, which separates New York from Ontario,
Canada. After the men tried unsuccessfully to start the boat's engines, it ran aground a short distance
downriver. The two jumped off and began swimming toward shore.
A security guard at a resort hotel along the river noticed the boat adrift and notified local and state police, who
were waiting for the suspects when they reached the docks.
Dave Shampine, a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times, said one of the suspects tried to remain in the
water and hidden behind another tour boat, but was persuaded to give himself up. Shampine said the men
evidently had been drinking before the incident, but Sacco could not confirm whether alcohol was involved.
Sacco said Gately and Perkal were arraigned early yesterday before Justice of the Peace Sue Parker and
charged with grand larceny in the second degree, a Class C felony. Bail was set at $100,000 cash each.
The grand larceny charge was brought because the value of the boat exceeds $50,000. Conviction on such a
charge can carry a variety of penalties, Sacco said, including imprisonment. Gately and Perkal are being held
at the county jail in Watertown, N.Y., pending a court appearance in Alexandria Bay tonight.
Sacco said bail for the two men likely would be reduced at their continuance hearing tonight and the case will
go before a grand jury at a later date. Under state law, he said, a Class C felony cannot be heard by a local
Sacco said Alexandria Bay is a resort community, with several tour boat operators who conduct tours of the
popular Thousand Islands stretch of the St. Lawrence. There have been several instances of people untying
the boats, he said, but this was the first theft he could recall.
Uncle Sam owner Ron Thomson said yesterday that he had inspected the underside of the boat and found no
"Luckily, all the switches were turned off in the control room," Thomson said, "so they couldn't get the engines
going. I was sleeping pretty good at 2:30 in the morning when I got the phone call, so they aren't exactly my
favorite two people in the world right now."
Copyright (c) 1994 Worcester Telegram & Gazette Corp.