Central Coast fish thieves arrested
April 15, 2014
Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens arrested two Santa Barbara County men Sunday for allegedly stealing from other fishermen and commercial fish markets to resell in Hollywood.
The two licensed fishermen, John Wilson, 53, of Santa Ynez and Kai Griffin, 23, of Buellton, allegedly snatched live rock crabs out of the nets of fellow commercial fishermen and other sea life from fish markets at the commercial dock in the Santa Barbara Harbor. The pair then sold the stolen catch at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market.
During a two-month investigation, wardens observed the subjects stealing live rock crabs from receivers in Santa Barbara Harbor and then selling the catch. Wilson and Griffin also sold sea urchins, Kellet’s whelks (out of season), live rock crabs and clawed rock crabs that were illegally landed.
Officers booked the suspects into the Santa Barbara County Jail on felony charges of conspiracy and grand theft.
“Thanks to some good tips from the fishing community and good, solid police work, we were able to catch the suspects and stop these illegal sales,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Wes Boyle in a press release.