Swimming crooks stole from NJ submarine that someone flooded, cops say
HACKENSACK — Two people from Connecticut have been charged with swimming through the Hackensack River before burglarizing a historic submarine that someone else had previously flooded this year.
Jon P. Stevens, of West Haven, Connecticut, and Laura Palmese, of Colchester, Connecticut, have been charged with stealing a lantern and a Medical Corps Lieutenant Shoulder lapel from the USS Ling on August 11.
Police released pictures of the two inside the flooded submarine with lights attached to their heads. The pair are believed to have parked at a nearby diner and swam to the submarine before taking the items, police said.
Last month, police announced that a caretaker of the USS Ling/Naval Museum reported four bronze plaques were stolen from the property, and that in another incident an unknown person had entered the submarine and opened "numerous hatches" inside, causing the submarine to take on water.
The charges announced on Thursday are not connected to the flooding and damage to the submarine. The pair are expected to appear in court for the first time on October 1.
The Ling served during World War II and has been in Hackensack since the 1970's, according to a GoFundMe has been established to help pay for repairs to the submarine. It was closed for repairs after Super Storm Sandy, and has been closed to the public since 2015 because of damage to the pier. The fundraising effort started 15 months ago and has raised more than $24,000 out of a goal of $100,000.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to clarify that while the vandals allowed water to enter the vessel and flood it, it did not result in the submarine becoming completely submerged.
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