Larissa Wilson, dubbed 'The Portofino Pirate', went on a fraud spree around Italy before being caught trying to steal a motor yacht on the Italian Riviera
British painter and designer Larissa Wilson, from Belfast, has been arrested in Italy after climbing aboard a €150,000 motor yacht and allegedly trying to steal it.
The incident happened in the town of Portofino, on the Italian Riviera, one of the most exclusive seaside resorts in the country.
The Canterbury born 50-year-old woman saw that the keys were left in the Sangermani Day Cruiser, owned by a local rental company, and decided to drive off on it.
The mother of four was spotted by a local worker who managed to jump aboard the yacht from the pontoon of the tiny Portofino harbour, and take the keys out of the ignition.
Wilson still refused to get off the boat until the local Carabinieri, called by the man, arrived at the scene and arrested her.
The painter’s excuse for her actions was that she only wanted to take the boat for a spin as she’s an experienced sailor and that it was her birthday.
Immediately after the authorities found out that Wilson had earlier been to nearby Santa Margherita Ligure where she had treated herself to a facial and blow dry at a salon to the tune of €150 but left, refusing to pay, Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera reports.
Capt Simone Clemente, of the Carabinieri, told The Telegraph: “Nothing like this has happened before in Portofino, it’s very unusual.
These included bills for two luxury hotel stays in Milan and the souther city of Reggio Calabria and a dinner in a restaurant in Ventimiglia, north west Italy. When trying to leave the hotel in Reggio Calabria she was briefly arrested but managed to flee after attacking hotel staff and authorities.
During her stay in Italy she had posted several pictures of her travels to her Facebook page, prompting a friend to post a comment asking whether she’d moved there.