Dough! Police launch manhunt over empty kayak — owner found in Dumbo pizzeria

Dough! Police launch manhunt over empty kayak — owner found in Dumbo pizzeria
Photo by Paul Martinka

Authorities launched a massive manhunt for a missing person after locals discovered an empty kayak and lifejacket on the rocks off Dumbo on Wednesday, but it turned out the vessel’s out-of-towner occupant was safe and dry all along — he had just ducked into the neighborhood for a slice.

“I wanted a piece of pizza from Brooklyn,” said Tyler Jordan, who travelled from Virginia to kayak 38 miles around New York. “I hadn’t had a good slice in a long time.”

Around 30 officers from the police, fire, and parks departments, swarmed the waterfront adjacent to Main and Plymouth streets with four boats and several ambulances, searching for the kayak’s owner after receiving a dozen calls from people worried about the abandoned kayak, which also contained energy bars, a water bottle, and an empty container of trail mix, according to Jordan.

But it was much ado about nothing, Jordan says — he had just docked his ride there at around 1 pm so he could sate his craving for an authentic Kings County pie at Dumbo’s best pie joint, Front Street Pizza.

In fact, the pizzeria is such a neighborhood institution, it should have been the first place the cops looked, according to the proprietor.

“The cops should have just come here to find him!” said pizzaiolo Larry Leonardi (nee Leonardo). “We were very happy to have him here and we’re satisfied he chose us to have pizza.”

Jordan indulged in two hard-earned pepperoni slices, but sadly missed out on tasting the Gersh — an inexplicable combination of chicken parmigiana and spinach named for former Brooklyn Paper editor Gersh Kuntzman.

He then walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to check out the 9–11 memorial, planning to make it back within an hour-and-15 minute-window before the tide rose.

But as he was walking back over the Brooklyn Bridge, Jordan noticed his kayak parking spot had turned into a crime scene. He thought perhaps someone had gotten into his boat and accidentally injured themselves — only to find that he was the man they were searching for.

“I saw all of the lights, all of the trucks and boats swirling around while I was going over the Brooklyn Bridge,” he said. “I saw tons of people there and thought, ‘Uh-oh, maybe they’re actually looking for me’ ”

Jordan spoke to officers at the scene — who eventually saw the funny side of the incident — for about 20 minutes before climbing back into his kayak to complete his journey.

He said he was happy that people came to his rescue, but didn’t regret a second of his excursion to Front Street Pizza.

“I thought it was good citizenry, people were concerned,” he said. “But it was definitely worth it.”

A Police Department spokeswoman said it had no record of the search.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill