Hundreds rally to raise money for new boat for Watertown man who discovered bombing suspect

Dylan Stableford
The Lookout

Hundreds of people are showing their gratitude for David Henneberry, the Watertown, Mass., man and boating enthusiast who alerted police after discovering Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hiding in his boat.

The boat, shrinkwrapped for the winter and parked in Henneberry's backyard, was "all shot up" during a standoff with police that ended with Tsarnaev's arrest, neighbor George Pizzuto told ABC News.

"That boat's his baby," Pizzuto said. "He takes care of it like you wouldn't believe. He's going to be heartbroken."

Shortly after Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick lifted the citywide lockdown, Henneberry went outside his home to smoke a cigarette when he noticed one of the straps on the tarp covering the 22-foot Sea Hawk pleasure cruiser was loose, Boston Police commissioner Ed Davis said. When Henneberry went to investigate, he found a bleeding Tsarnaev inside, and called 911.

“They wound up shooting a couple of rounds through his boat,” Henneberry's stepson, Robert Duffy, told the Daily News. “He’s not going to like that, he’s real anal about it.”

[Related: Tsarnaev remains in serious condition at hospital, FBI says]

But within hours, several Facebook pages and online fundraisers were launched by strangers looking to raise money to buy Henneberry a new boat. The Facebook group "Help get David Henneberry a new boat!" has more than 800 members. A verified Crowdtilt campaign has collected more than $3,000. Their goal: $50,000, or what Henneberry's boat is said to be worth.

"I feel so helpless," Richard Bliss, a California-based podcaster who launched a similar crowdfunding campaign for Henneberry, explained. "I wanted to be able to do something, something personal. I just wanted to give a little bit back to Dave and the people of Boston."

The unsolicited outpouring extends beyond the Web. A woman from Florida told she sent a $25 check to Henneberg's address. A Florida lawyer said he plans to donate $1,000. And Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau told reporters he got an email from someone in Detroit wanting to replace the entire ship.