Brinnon man charged with theft of watercraft; alleged companion feared drowned

PORT TOWNSEND — A Brinnon man who swam to shore Tuesday after losing control of a recreational watercraft near McDonald Cove was charged Wednesday with stealing the Sea-Doo he apparently fell off of.

Another Brinnon man, suspected of stealing a second Sea-Doo personal watercraft from a garage near the cove, is believed to have fallen in the water and was last heard calling for help.

He remains missing, and authorities have called off the water search for him.

Following formal charging in Jefferson County Superior Court on Wednesday, Tobias Hutchins, 25, of Brinnon was released from Jefferson County jail, where he was held in connection with the alleged theft.

He is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 18 for arraignment.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office identified Hutchins as one of two men allegedly involved in taking two Sea-Doo recreational watercraft from a Brinnon residence’s garage early Tuesday morning.

They took the devices out on the 45-degree Hood Canal waters and each apparently fell into the water.

Calls for help

A McDonald Cove resident reported hearing calls for help from someone in the water and called 9-1-1.

The Coast Guard, Navy and Sheriff’s Office dispatched boats and helicopters in a daylong search and rescue operation for the second Brinnon man, 28.

Hutchins swam to shore wearing a wet suit, County Undersheriff Ken Sukert said Wednesday.

The second man’s clothes were discovered floating near the scene, Sukert added.

Authorities would not disclose his identity because of a Sheriff’s Office policy not to disclose names while an investigation is in progress.

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