American Jailed for Floating Into Canada on Mattress

John Bennett says he needed to cross border to protect girlfriend
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2016 7:06 AM CDT
In this May, 2006 file photo, motorists from St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, cross through US Customs at Calais, Maine.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
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(Newser) – As the judge put it, “Pardon the pun, but it seems to me you wanted to get there, come hell or high water.” That was apparently the case for an American nabbed while crossing illegally into Canada on an air mattress, CBC reports. Officials say John Bennett, 25, was busted last week after he washed up on shore in New Brunswick and was spotted by a local resident. "He was wet and carrying his boots," said prosecutor Peter Thorn. Bennett told Royal Canadian Mounted Police that he had tried to cross the border at Calais, Maine, the normal way, but was denied entry after a background check turned up criminal mischief charges pending in the US, the Guardian reports. He said he had to get to the town of St. Stephen to protect his pregnant girlfriend from a violent ex-boyfriend.

So he bought an inflatable mattress at a Walmart in Maine, used a wooden board as a paddle and headed out on the St. Croix River. “He, in his mind, thought he needed to do what needed to be done to get over there to see her and ensure that she was OK,” Thorn said, adding that there has been no word yet from the "so-called fiancee’s side." Bennett pleaded guilty on Thursday to illegally crossing the border, and a judge sentenced him to two months in jail—but not before noting the unusual nature of the case. Even the prosecutor said the "gallant" act has tugged on heartstrings. "I sense that there’s this element of a Romeo-Juliet type of thing," he said. (These distracted Canadians accidentally crossed the border while playing you-know-what.)

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