BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - We have a happy ending to the story of a Biloxi man who was "kayak jacked" on Deer Island last week. Rikki Callegari's kayak has been returned. Callegari said the parents of the young people who took it saw the story on WLOX News and called police.
Last Monday, Callegari kayaked out to Deer Island around 11 a.m. and did some beach combing. But hours later, when he was ready to leave, he couldn't.
"About 4:30, 5 p.m., I come back, come walking up with my haul and it was just gone," said Callegari.
The kayak was missing, and Callegari was stranded.
"No boats out there, nobody else. I was out there by myself," Callegari said.
Luckily, his phone had just enough battery to call the Biloxi Police, who quickly sent a boat to pick him up.
While he was waiting for his ride, something else caught his eye. Along with his life jacket and cooler, whoever took the kayak left something else in the sand.
"When I was walking up, there was actually writing all along the beach," said Callegari.
The first thing he noticed was the message, "I O U a Kayak." Next, were the names Katie, Raelyn and Eric. It wasn't much to go by, but at least it was a start.
Callegari was relatively calm about the whole situation. After all, he does own two other kayaks. When I asked him if he had a message for the "kayak jackers," he said, "I've got their names and hey Karma's there."
After our story aired this weekend, the mother of one of the young men involved called Biloxi Police to say they had the kayak, and wanted to make sure it was returned to its rightful owner. According to Callegari, the woman said the kids (ages 18, 19, and 20) are training for a Navy program and swim out to the island every Monday. On this trip, someone lost a flipper during the swim. They saw the kayak and thought it was abandoned, so they took it back to shore.
Callegari picked up the blue Old Town Loon at the Biloxi Police Department. He's decided not to press charges.