Shirley man arraigned on charges relating to bizarre Boston escapade

The bridges that span the Fort Point Channel in Boston.
David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/File
The bridges that span the Fort Point Channel in Boston.

A man broke into a building, sprayed a fire extinguisher, then stole a taxi cab in front of South Station and drove to the Fort Point bridge, where he leaped into the cold water of the Fort Point Channel early Wednesday morning, according to Boston police.

William Thoresen, 29, of Shirley, was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on carjacking and other related charges, according to Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office.

Thoreson was ordered to undergo a 20-day evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital and will return to court later this month, Wark said.


The charges stem from a bizarre escapade, which began when Thoreson allegedly broke into 201 South St. and sprayed a fire extinguisher inside the building before fleeing the area on foot, according to Officer Stephen McNulty, a spokesman for the Boston Police Department.

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After that, Thoresen allegedly stole the cab in front of the train station. The cab driver told police Thoresen had forced him out of his taxi and put the car in reverse, striking the cab driver with the open door of the cab, and then put the car into drive and struck another cab that was stopped in front of it. The suspect then drove the stolen taxi cab to the Fort Point bridge, where he stopped, got out of the taxi, and then jumped off of the eastern side railing, according to McNulty.

A police report filed in the case said the cab driver told officers Thoresen initially approached his vehicle on foot and shouted, “Quick I need a ride!!”

But the cabbie wasn’t having it. He told police that he locked his doors because of Thoresen’s erratic behavior, and Thoresen escalated the confrontation.

He “ran to the drivers side, where the victim . . . was standing and violently pushed him out of the way and jumped into the front seat,” the report said. “The victim then leaned in and attempted to pull the suspect out but was unable to because he had a tight grip on the steering wheel. The suspect then put the taxi in reverse and hit the gas.”


But a number of taxis gave chase, the report said. Once Thoresen crossed the Fort Point bridge, he banged a U-turn, stopped the vehicle, got out, and removed his shirt before jumping into the frigid waters, according to the report.

Around 2:45 a.m., officers conducting a traffic stop on Congress Street were approached by a “frantic witness” who said a person had just jumped off the bridge and into the Fort Point Channel, according to McNulty.

Officers began to search for the person in the water, and the Boston Police Harbor Patrol Unit, Boston EMS, and Boston Fire also responded to help search for Thoresen, who was found a short time later and was put in an ambulance and taken to an area hospital, McNulty said.

The report said Thoresen “managed to climb out of the water and was assisted over the railing and onto the bridge by BPD units” and quickly taken to a waiting ambulance.

Cops also surveyed the damage of the building located at 201-207 South St. that Thoresen allegedly vandalized before the cab episode.


The building’s basement was covered with white powder from the fire extinguisher that Thoresen sprayed, and surveillance footage captured him exiting the basement with the extinguisher and tossing it at a parked car, shattering its window, the report said.

“Blood evidence” was also found in a freight elevator, the filing said, and police determined Thoresen had “gained entry into the building by climbing over a fence and onto the fire escape and through the 2nd floor window.”

No motive for the alleged crime spree was disclosed in court documents, but the police report noted that about an hour beforehand, an officer had seen Thoresen at the intersection of Essex Street and Surface Road.

Thoresen, wearing a dark hoodie and gray sweatpants, appeared at the time to be “extremely agitated and upset,” so the officer took him to “the area of the Pine Street Inn,” a homeless shelter in the South End, the report said.

Travis Andersen and Peter Bailey-Wells of the Globe staff and correspondent Jackson Cote contributed to this report. Emily Sweeney can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.