Alleged yacht thief claims to be president of TVA, damages boat engine during joy ride

A man claiming, falsely, to be the president of the Tennessee Valley Authority led police on a chase Friday night - while driving a yacht.

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At 10:30 p.m., Tennessee Wildlife officers responded to a call of a large yacht having been stolen from the Riverfront Parkway docks, according to an affidavit from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

Brandon James Allmon, 42, allegedly stole a yacht estimated to be valued at $2 million. The yacht, named "Top Gun," was noted to be missing by a friend of Robert Deal, the boat's owner, who checks on the vessel every day, according to the affidavit.

Multiple agencies were involved in Allmon's arrest. He steered the yacht into several jurisdictions down the Tennessee River, avoiding apprehension, according to the affidavit.

"The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office ordered the occupant of the vessel to come down to the rear of the vessel," the affidavit said, adding the occupant did not follow those commands and instead got in the driver's seat of the 80-foot-yacht and began to evade attempts to stop it.

According the affidavit, Allmon continued navigating the yacht at approximately 15 to 30 mph, causing waves as high as 6 feet to emerge from both sides of the boat, creating an unsafe environment for any vessel around it, according to the affidavit.

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According to an affidavit by Chattanooga police, officers "attempted once more to board the yacht, but the yacht fled the area, almost hitting several officers." Police were able to board the yacht after the motor stalled near Veterans Bridge.

According to the affidavit, "the yacht was smoking and taking in water."

Once apprehended, Allmon told an officer, in slurred speech, that he was the president of TVA, the sheriff's office affidavit said. The affidavit added that Allmon had initially identified himself as Brandon Mason.

Jeff Lyash is the president of TVA.

Allmon was charged with boating under the influence, violation of boating rules and regulations and reckless operation of a boat or vessel, all by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. He has also been charged with four counts of aggravated assault of a police officer, theft of property over $250,000 and felony evading arrest by Chattanooga police, according to Hamilton County Criminal Courts.

Allmon was being held at Silverdale Detention Center on a $441,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear before Criminal Court General Sessions Judge Gary Starnes on May 16.

Contact La Shawn Pagán at or 423-757-6476. Follow her on Twitter @LaShawnPagan.