A 3 1/2-ton yellow submarine has fallen off the radar. The 10-foot-long sub, built by a resident to patrol Monterey Bay during the 1940s and 1950s, was reported missing Feb. 15 from its Santa Cruz Mountains berth on Steinmaier Road by owner Carl Barker.
"It sounds bizarre," said Detective Kevin Coyne of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office. "All I know is ... there's no suspects."
Irven Thomson built the vessel from an old propane tank about 60 years ago. He added a turret, hatch, windows and a cement keel, rudder and navigational instruments.
"I think they launched it a couple of times," Barker said.
There were no arrests.
"One of the neighbors said they saw a tow truck loading it up," Barker, 38, said. "Someone knew they wanted it and came and took it. I don't think they stole it for any kind of recycling value."
Barker said Thomson would go on vigilante patrols of the bay and used the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf as his home base. Neighbors said the sub worked but that Thomson quickly gave up the patrols and beached the vessel on his land in south Felton.
Thomson left the yellow submarine on the property when he moved to Watsonville years ago. Family members lived on Steinmaier Road until 2003, when they sold the property and moved to Red Bluff.