Man Arrested For Stealing Crabs
Early Thursday morning, Florida Fish and Wildlife Authorities arrested 49-year-old Brett Warwick of East Palatka on four charges of stealing crabs from commercial crab traps on the St. John's river and two drug charges for items he had when he was arrested.
Over the past six months, too many of Jody Ruth's crab traps were coming up empty. This wasn't because the crabs weren't biting. Instead, somebody was stealing from his traps.
"We come and check them, and they'd look good," said Ruth. "Come back the next day to run them, and he'd beat us to them."
Ruth sells each box of crabs to local restaurants for $150 to $200. Ruth guesses that someone was stealing half of his haul.
"It was killing us, the fuel prices, price of the bait," said Ruth. "He was just putting the hurt on us, everybody up here was having trouble, it wasn't just us."
Warwick was the second person charged with stealing crabs, and authorities hope it's the end of a six month long investigation.
"This is my officers and myself our favorite case," said Lt. George Pottor with Florida Fish and Wildlife. "Obviously we're here to protect the resources, but whenever we can protect people and their investment, that feels really good."
Now, Ruth and many other commercial crabbers along the St. John's river, will be rewarded for a hard day's work.
"I can sleep better tonight," said Ruth.
Brett Warwick was released on a $5500 bond.
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