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Homeless migrant Juan Hernandez busted for taking historic NYC fireboat on wild joyride down Hudson River: cops

Now he is above the stream.

A 22-year-old immigrant was arrested aboard a historic fireboat during a rough journey down the Hudson River before becoming stranded and hopping onto a yacht in Manhattan, police and sources said.

Juan Hernandez, a homeless man from Ecuador, began wading on the former FDNY-owned John J. Harvey vessel around 2:30 a.m., police and other sources said.


Juan Hernandez, 22, has been charged with two counts of grand theft of a motor vehicle in connection with a joyride early Thursday morning, police said. Kit Leung – Stock.adobe.com

Police said the suspected boat robbers untied the ropes that tied the decommissioned 130-foot vessel, now privately owned, to Pier 66 on West 27th Street in Chelsea and let it float downstream. .

Police said the man drifted aimlessly for about 30 minutes before becoming stranded near Pier 64 on West 25th Street.

Police and officials said the ungainly captain jumped off the ship, into the 46-degree water, swam to land and then jumped aboard the 25-foot sailboat.

Officials said Hernandez tried unsuccessfully to take down the sails of a second boat owned by the Hudson River Community Sailing School.

Police said he drifted for another 30 minutes, continuing his bizarre journey to Pier 51 near Jane Street in the West Village.

According to police, someone spotted the man inside the boat and called 911.

The NYPD’s Harbor Division responded and boarded the boat, where they found Hernandez lying on the ground, police said.

Police said the man was arrested around 3:40 a.m. and charged with two counts of grand theft of a motor vehicle.

The red and white John J. Harvey Fire Boat is named for an FDNY firefighter killed in a boat fire. She famously entered service in Brooklyn in 1931 and resumed service after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Authorities said Mr. Hernandez had no prior arrest record and had no history of joining the NYPD as an “emotionally disturbed person.”

Officials said he entered the United States illegally in 2022 via El Paso, Texas, and told federal immigration authorities in Boston that he had family there.

He later missed proceedings at an immigration court in Boston, officials said.

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