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Man accused of setting Vista Fleet boats adrift pleads guilty

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Gregory Mark Sullwold2 / 2

The 48-year-old Twin Cities-area man accused of setting the two Vista Fleet boats adrift out into the Duluth harbor last year pleaded guilty Wednesday.

Gregory Mark Sullwold, of Greenwood, Minn., pleaded guilty to felony theft-indifferent to owner rights, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Sullwold was arrested for the unmooring of both Vista boats — the three-deck Vista Star and smaller Vista Queen — from their docks behind the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center in the early morning hours of Sept. 21. The boats were left unoccupied and adrift for several hours in the harbor near the Aerial Lift Bridge before being secured; they were not damaged.

According to the criminal complaint:

As the investigation into the vessel tampering advanced, one officer remembered dealing with Sullwold earlier that night, for alleged mischief in Canal Park including an alleged threat against the Club Saratoga.

Sullwold was arrested Sept. 22 by Duluth police on an unrelated warrant out of Hennepin County, where Sullwold faced domestic assault charges.

During an interview with Duluth Police Department investigators, the complaint states, Sullwold confessed to the Vista Fleet tampering.

Sullwold "was particularly interested in, as he put it, the boats floating on the harbor," the complaint states. "He also seemed to boast of his knowledge in boats."

Sentencing is scheduled for April 9.