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Thousand Oaks Businessman Gets Prison For Dropping Anchor Aboard Cruise Ship

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Rick Ehlert (courtesy CBS12/Federal Bureau of Investigations)

Rick Ehlert (courtesy CBS12/Federal Bureau of Investigations)

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THOUSAND OAKS (CBS) — A Conejo Valley business owner will serve four months in prison and three years of probation for releasing the anchor on a commercial cruise liner while in international waters.

Rick Ehlert, 45, of Thousand Oaks, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday to pay a $7,500 fine as well as undergo drug and mental health counseling for the drunken prank aboard a Holland America ship as it returned to Tampa, Fla., from Mexico in November of 2010.

Ehlert, who owns a recreational vehicle dealership in Thousand Oaks, pleaded guilty last year for his role in nearly bringing the cruise ship to a sudden stop when he the 18-ton stern anchor was dropped off the MS Ryndam in a move that prosecutors said “could have caused significant damage”.

The prank ended up delaying the ship by three hours and possibly threatened the 1260 passengers and 580 crew members on board as it returned from Costa Maya in Mexico.

Ehlert later confessed to agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was subsequently taken into custody.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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