Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officers Bust Blue Crab Trap Theft Suspect
By Space Coast Daily // August 29, 2017
Suspect cited with one felony, 11 misdemeanors
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following report highlights some cases the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission handled in Brevard County over the past week, but does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Officer Eller received numerous complaints from recreational and commercial fishermen about an individual who was stealing blue crab traps and their crabs on the Banana River in Merritt Island.
A decoy operation was conducted to catch the suspect. Using several decoy blue crab traps, Officer Eller and Lieutenant Bonds hid deep within the mangroves and filmed the violator stealing the decoy traps and the blue crabs inside those traps.
Lieutenant Davis and Officer Humphrey were called to assist with their marked vessel and conducted a vessel stop. The commercial fisherman was arrested and transported to a nearby boat ramp for questioning.
Once at the boat ramp, Officer Eller interviewed the fisherman and documented the evidence. The violator admitted to having stolen the traps and cutting one of the buoy lines, and replacing it with his own buoy before putting it back in the river.
A resource inspection of the violator’s vessel also revealed stone crabs which were in whole condition, some egg bearing and numerous other violations. The violator was taken to the Brevard County Jail where he was cited with one felony and 11 misdemeanors.
• Officer Hallsten was conducting fisheries inspections at Haulover Canal when he checked one subject with five undersized mangrove snapper.
The subject was issued a citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper.
• Officer Hallsten was conducting foot patrol at Haulover Canal when he was informed by a concerned citizen that two subjects had been keeping undersized black drum.
He quickly intercepted the suspects and conducted a fisheries inspection. The inspection revealed two undersized black drum and one undersized redfish. The appropriate citations were issued.
• Officer Lejarzar was conducting fisheries inspections in Port Canaveral when he saw a vessel that was equipped with fishing gear and appeared to be returning to the boat ramp.
The vessel began operating suspiciously once they noticed Officer Lejarzar’s vessel. A fisheries inspection was conducted and Officer Lejarzar discovered 11 undersized mangrove snapper and one undersized sheephead. The fish were seized and Officer Lejarzar issued the appropriate citations.
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