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Man ‘Catches,’ Steals Live Tarpon From Bass Pro Shops

Killing the protected tarpon is no laughing matter. Stealing a tarpon from Bass Pro Shop isn't, either.

Tarpon Stolen from Florida Bass Pro ShopFlorida authorities are asking for help identifying a man who netted and stole a live tarpon from a Bass Pro Shop in Fort Meyers, Fla.
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‘Florida Man’ strikes again. Authorities are on the lookout for an individual who decided to do a little pond fishing inside a Bass Pro Shop in Fort Myers, Fla. The man netted a live tarpon before exiting the store with the fish.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office reports that the unidentified suspect entered the establishment equipped with a fishing net. Using that net, the man successfully captured a tarpon, lifting it from the water before making his exit from the store. The individual fled the scene, prompting law enforcement to seek assistance from the public in locating him.

A video, recorded by a bystander and shared by the police, depicts the man and the tarpon passing through shortly after the fish was pulled from one of the shop’s infamous indoor ponds.

Social media video released by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office; (video/Lee Country Sheriff’s Office Facebook Page)

Florida Authorities Are Asking for Help

The Lee County Sheriff’s Department decided to take a playful stance on looking for help from the public with the following lighthearted call to action:

But not just your ‘normal’ retail theft. We guess you could say this one will o-fish-ially catch your eye:
Yesterday evening, a male suspect entered the Bass Pro Shops in Gulf Coast Town Center with a fish net in hand, and proceeded to remove a live tarpon from the store’s indoor fish pond. The suspect then fled the store with the tarpon. South District Detectives are working with our Animal Cruelty Task Force, MyFWC Florida Fish and Wildlife, and SWFL Crime Stoppers in an attempt to locate the individuals involved.

“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:

You may also call the Sheriff’s Office information line directly at 239-477-1000.

“We’re #FishingForInformation & would love nothin’ more than to chum it up with this guy,” Lee County officials added. “Don’t Get Caught Aiding and A-bait-ing.”

A Crime Was Committed, but What Are the Charges?

Though the authorities took a holiday-friendly, lighthearted approach, it isn’t much of a laughing matter. Tarpon are a protected fish that fall under strict catch-and-release laws in the state of Florida. Though, this particular act isn’t necessarily fishing, so it’s hard to say exactly what the man can/will be charged with.

GearJunkie will update this story once we have more information.

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