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Mystery & money off the Orange County coast

February 22, 2008 | 12:44 pm

VendrickWould you sail on a beat-up boat to an island off the Orange County coast for a secret, nighttime meeting with government officials supposedly interested in a lucrative business deal? Well, that's what 71-year-old Robert Vendrick, a retired software engineer from Arizona, did last Saturday when he traveled to San Clemente island with get-rich guru Gary Shawkey, who set up the meeting. The boat, called the Odyssey, and Shawkey turned up earlier this week in Long Beach. But Vendrick was not on board, triggering an investigation and search covered by the OC Register. His family thinks Vendrick has been conned and fear the worst, they told The Times'  Tony Barboza.

"Right now they're dredging Dana Point Harbor for my brother," Fred Vendrick said Thursday afternoon. "I hope they find him safe, but it doesn't look like it's going to end well."

--Jesus Sanchez