Thief Goes Tarpon Fishing In Bass Pro Shops’ Fish Tank

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tarpon fishing bass pro shops fish tank
Photo Credit: "Bass Pro Shops - Harrisburg Mall Harrisburg, PA March 2018" by MikeKalasnik is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/?ref=openverse.

A man in Florida was caught on video as he went tarpon fishing inside a Bass Pro Shops store and managed to haul out a fish weighing 50 pounds.

The incident took place the Wednesday night prior to Chirstmas at the Gulf Coast Town Center in Fort Myers.

Brazen thief goes tarpon fishing inside Bass Pro Shops’ fish tank

The video shows the suspect using a large net to capture the tarpon from a fish pond located inside the store.

Shortly after, the man fled the scene, still holding the live fish in the net.

“Somebody came up to me holding a scale of a tarpon and said, ‘Look, somebody just stole a tarpon’,” Bass Pro employee Chance Floyd told NBC 2.

“I couldn’t believe it, honestly, like I don’t understand why they’d do that, and it was just so shocking to me that somebody would stoop low enough to do that,” he detailed.

Authorities on the hunt for man who went tarpon fishing inside of Bass Pro Shops’ fish tank

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office took to Facebook to address the incident, referring to it as more than just a typical retail theft.

They playfully stated that “THIS one will o-fish-ially catch your eye.” The Facebook post included the suspect’s photo and urged the public to come forward with any information, using a fishing-themed hashtag.

Law enforcement agencies, including the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the Animal Cruelty Task Force, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and SWFL Crime Stoppers, are collaborating to apprehend the fish thief.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission acknowledged the incident at the Bass Pro Shop and stated that they are working with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to investigate further.

The authorities emphasized the seriousness of the theft and warned against helping the suspect escape from justice.

They ended their Facebook post by saying, “Don’t Get Caught Aiding & A-bait-ing.”

Tarpon fishing likely killed the 50 pound fish from Bass Pro Shops

Floyd said that the tarpon is likely dead after being removed from its habitat.

“They can’t really last long because once they get to a certain size, they’re not supposed to take them out of the water,” Floyd remarked.

“So he obviously took it out of the water forcefully and then walked all the way out of the store.”

Though the incident took place on Dec. 20 and was caught on camera, the suspect remains at large.

“Right now, our Criminal Investigations Division is working to follow leads in the case,” Sergeant Sarah Rodriguez said to USA Today.

Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers has offered a cash reward to anyone who can tell the organization who the fish thief is.

“If you have information on this incident or the suspect, please ’drop a line’ to SWFL Crimestoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS or online at: www.southwestfloridacrimestoppers.com,” they shared.

If you can identify the tarpon thief from the video, you can call in directly at 239-477-1000.”

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