Who is that on the tiki hut drinking boat in Key West? A man who stole it, police say

Gwen Filosa

A Missouri man was jailed after police said he was found in a stolen floating tiki hut in Key West.

Tyln Earl Morlang, 26, of Independence, Missouri, was intoxicated when found alone on the distinctive charter boat, which belongs to Cruisin’ Tikis, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The U.S. Coast Guard spotted the boat — basically a bar under a tiki hut on a floating deck — at about 8 a.m. Wednesday while on patrol near Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.

Police said Morlang was alone aboard the vessel, powered by a 30-horsepower outboard motor and available for chartered bring-your-own-booze cruise.

He was found slumped over the wheel, said FWC spokesman Bobby Dube. The boat was stolen from the Hurricane Hole marina on Stock Island.

Morlang was arrested on a felony charge of grand theft with damage over $1,000 and misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and giving false identification to a law enforcement officer.

The U.S. Coast Guard found a stolen tiki hut boat off Key West on Jan. 13, 2021. A man was alone on the boat and taken to jail.
The U.S. Coast Guard found a stolen tiki hut boat off Key West on Jan. 13, 2021. A man was alone on the boat and taken to jail.

“I’m not going to jail!” Morlang told FWC officers.

Morlang said he had heart problems and was taken to Lower Keys Medical Center. While in a hospital bed, the Fish and Wilflife agency said Morlang tried to fight officers and one officer used his Taser stun gun on him. FWC said Morlang later pulled away from officers who were placing him in a patrol car.

The tiki hut boat had been stolen the night before, the owner told the agency.

FWC said the boat was damaged with burn marks on the bar. A VHF radio was also partially melted and residue was left from a fire inside a coconut and in a sink behind the bar. Officers found a 10-ounce can of lighter fluid on the deck of the vessel.

“He decided to build fires, to stay warm I guess,” said Johnna Sleith, one of the owners of Cruisin’ Tikis. “He started mini fires in cup holders and water jugs. It melted a lot of stuff.”

Morlang remained at the county jail on Stock Island on Thursday without bond.