Back From the Dead! EHT Boater Who Staged Disappearance Surrenders
Last July 20th, police and Coast Guard helicopters circled the Longport coastline, in an 18-hour search for a boater who had apparently been thrown overboard when his pontoon boat hit a buoy.
Justin Belz, who had also been on that boat, swam to shore, but there was no sign of Andrew Biddle.
The whereabouts of Biddle, an accomplished boater and the current offshore boat racing champion, remained unknown. As days passed, suspicion grew.
Within two weeks, police began to circulate a flyer suggesting that Biddle had staged the accident and was believed to be "alive and well and on the run".
Biddle had reason to stage his own disappearance.The Press of Atlantic City reports "Andrew Biddle, 45, and his employer are accused of using Professional Boat Sales, Service and Storage in Egg Harbor Township to deceive people and steal money."
Thursday, nearly seven months after he disappeared, the Egg Harbor Township man resurfaced and surrendered.
“He voluntarily returned from wherever he was, when he probably could have stayed there ad infinitum,” Mark Roddy, Biddle’s attorney, said Thursday.
Roddy said he received a call from his client last week, during which Biddle said he “wanted to step up and do the right thing.”
The Pleasantville lawyer told Biddle to contact him after returning to the tri-state area. Biddle made that call Wednesday.
“Once I knew he was serious and this was going to take place, I made a series of calls to let the court know I was going to surrender him,” Roddy said.
The hearing before Judge Kyran Connor lasted about 10 minutes, Roddy said. Connor ordered Biddle to post $50,000 bail, cash or bond, within 24 hours, or be taken into custody.
Roddy said Biddle was working on producing the amount he needed. He would not discuss charges against Biddle.