April 24, 2013

Web campaign to replace boat where bombing suspect hid gains traction

By Brian Chappatta and Annie Linskey / Bloomberg News

BOSTON — An online campaign to buy David Henneberry a new boat has almost tripled its funds over the past two days as people open their wallets to help those involved in the Boston Marathon bombings.

click image to enlarge

Investigators from the FBI inspect the boat where Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found hiding Friday night in a backyard in Watertown, Mass. Bullet holes are visible in the hull.

The Associated Press

Police opened fire on a powerboat owned by Henneberry, 65, a resident of Watertown, Mass., after he called in the tip that bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was hiding in it. Henneberry had noticed blood on the normally pristine vessel on a trailer in his back yard. After officers captured the suspect, the boat was left riddled with bullet holes.

A campaign on the website Crowdtilt, a platform for so-called crowdfunding, has raised about $7,700 so far, compared with $2,800 on April 21. The drive, titled "Let's Fix David Henneberry's Boat (That Got Ruined in the Boston Bomber's Standoff)!" has "tilted," meaning all proceeds will go to Henneberry. Crowdtilt's staff has stepped in to guarantee delivery of the funds. The goal is $50,000.

The story of Henneberry's punctured boat resonated with Jeffrey Griffeth, 36, of Apex, N.C. It inspired him to promote the Crowdtilt campaign by starting a Facebook group, which now has about 1,000 members.

"I enjoy fishing and being out on the water myself, and for a guy to lose his boat, as minor as that is compared to people losing their limbs and lives, I just thought to help a guy out who potentially saved many more lives," Griffeth said.

Henneberry is so particular about his boat that he didn't use it for fishing – only pleasure cruising, said Sean Finn, 42, a neighbor and fellow boater.

"I don't think he liked getting fish guts all over his boat," Finn said in an interview. "We would joke about it."

Henneberry, who didn't return phone calls seeking comment on the boat, would take his SeaHawk for day trips around Boston Harbor, including the occasional jaunt to World's End, a park in Hingham, his sister, Claire Bransfield, 69, said in a telephone interview.

Every year he would join a group at the Watertown Yacht Club, a few blocks from his home, and take aboard disabled people for a spin around Boston Harbor, she said.

Passengers included the blind and people who'd lost their limbs.

"It was gorgeous," Bransfield said of the boat. "It sparkled."
 

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