Ferry stowaway caught, reunited with uncle who worked on boat

Casey Grove

A stowaway caught this week on a Southeast Alaska ferry had his ticket paid for by his uncle, who worked on the boat and said he had not seen his nephew in 17 years, according to a charging document.

Raymond Grenberg, 26, hid in his friend's Dodge pickup and sneaked aboard the M/V Taku without paying Tuesday afternoon in Juneau, Alaska State Troopers said in a written statement Friday. They were headed to Ketchikan, more than 200 miles to the south by boat.

Now Grenberg and his friend, Timothy Webb, also 26, face misdemeanor charges.

"We have a handful of these stowaway cases every year that are reported to us," troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said. "If you have a car that's completely loaded up, it's easy to go undetected. I can see how someone would think it's easy to do but it's a bad idea."

Wednesday afternoon, as the ferry pulled in to Ketchikan, someone called Trooper Scott Carson about the case, and he headed to the ferry terminal. On the Taku's car deck, the trooper met the ferry's chief mate, who pointed at Grenberg and identified him as the stowaway, Carson wrote in the charges.

In separate interviews, Grenberg, Webb and Grenberg's uncle told the trooper what happened.

"Timothy paid for his ferry ticket, but I didn't have money for my ticket, Timothy didn't have enough money to led me for my ticket, so I hid in the back seat area of his truck under a bunch of clothes," Grenberg told a trooper later, according to the charges. "... He helped me get onto the ferry, but it was my idea. Once we got on to the ferry I got out of the truck and we rode the ferry to Ketchikan."

Webb told a slightly different story. He said he did not know Grenberg was hiding in his pickup.

"... He must have hidden in my truck while I was at the terminal. I didn't know he was in my backseat until after I parked my truck on the car deck and he popped up from under some clothes in the backseat," Webb said. "I didn't say anything to the ferry workers at the time because I was mad at Raymond."

It's unclear how the Taku's crew became aware that Grenberg had not paid his way or at what point in the voyage they caught him.

As it turned out, Grenberg's uncle was working on the ferry at the time, according to the charges. Grenberg had sent a text message to the uncle, Vernon Grant, after he was outed as a stowaway, and Grant paid for his nephew's $107 ticket, the charges say.

Carson asked Grant about it.

"I have not seen my nephew since he was about nine years old," Grant said, as quoted in the charges. "I was happy to see him but very disappointed in what he did. I work on this boat, and I didn't want this to somehow come back on me."

"I told Raymond that I would pay for his ticket but only if he told the truth and took accountability for his actions," Grant said.

Carson charged Grenberg with theft of services and trespassing. Webb is charged with aiding and abetting a crime.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.