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Florida man steals large fish from sporting goods store, police say

Police said they were searching for a male suspect who fled the store after removing a live tarpon from an indoor fish pond.
Posted at 8:43 PM, Dec 22, 2023

After video surfaced online of what appeared to be a man brazenly stealing a large fish from a sporting goods store, police in Florida released the video in their search for the suspect. 

Cellphone video shows a male suspect carrying out a large tarpon in a net, surrounded by apparently bewildered customers who seemed confused as to why he was racing out of the store with the fish. 

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office said a male suspect entered a Bass Pro Shop in the Ft. Myers area and captured the large fish in the net before police said he "fled the store with the tarpon."

Police said they were working with the area's Animal Cruelty Task Force to locate the suspect and asked the public to call 1-800-780-TIPS or go online to report any useful information to aFlorida Crime Stoppers tip portal

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An employee at the store named Chance Floyd told WSVN, "Someone came up to me holding a scale of the tarpon and was like, 'Look, somebody just stole a tarpon.'"

"It didn’t even cross my mind that somebody would stoop that low to steal such a federally protected fish and potentially put it in harm’s way," he said.

According to reports, police believe the suspect also stole the net used in the act. 

In 2020 another man was seen on video jumping into a large tank at a sporting goods store. 

Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a statement that the department was "aware of an incident at The Bass Pro Shop in Fort Myers involving a tarpon. We are currently working with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to investigate further."