CRIME
09/07/2012 11:04 am ET Updated Sep 08, 2012

Christopher Maffei Kidnaps Children, Brooklynn and Devin Maffei, In Stolen Sailboat: San Francisco Cops

UPDATE: The father accused of stealing a boat and kidnapping his two children has been arrested after a low-speed boat chase. The youngsters were rescued. Read that story here.

Earlier:

A San Francisco man has allegedly kidnapped his two children and taken off in a stolen yacht.

Police say Christopher Maffei, 43, abducted his two children, 3-year-old Brookylnn Maffei and 2-year-old Devin Maffei, from James Court in South San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon, CBS reports. He then reportedly sped away with the children in a rented white Ford Fusion.

The abandoned rental car was found at the Ballena Isle Marina in Alameda, according to the San Francisco Gate. Investigators believe that Maffei then stole a 44-foot yacht and sailed off, his children aboard.

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The owner of the yacht told authorities that in previous weeks, Maffei had inquired about buying the boat and had come to inspect it, CNN reports.

The yacht, named "Unleashed," with the words "San Francisco, CA" painted on its stern, was last spotted on Wednesday evening near Mare Island, a peninsula north of the marina.

Jennifer Hipon, the mother of Brooklynn and Devin, suspects that Maffei is headed to Thailand or Mexico. He lived in Thailand previously, and has reportedly expressed a desire to take his children to Mexico. Maffei has also said previously that he would like to sail to Monterey, according to the San Mateo County Times.

Hipon says she fears for her children's lives.

"I want the Coast Guard. The Navy. Anybody who has a boat," she told KPIX. "Please look for my children and bring them back to me."

UPDATE: The Coast Guard spotted the stolen boat off the San Mateo early Friday morning and is tracking the vessel, according to the Associated Press

UPDATE: Brooklyn and Devin Maffei were rescued by the Coast Guard on Friday, according to the Associated Press. Christopher Maffei has been arrested.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed the children's mother, Jennifer Hipon, as Jennifer Nipon.

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