The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife issued a release after 57 year old Larrin Breitsprecher of Westport was sentenced by Grays Harbor County Superior Court Judge Mark McCauley after a jury found him guilty of possessing stolen property and related charges after stealing commercial crab pots.
According to the release, the commercial crab fisherman was given a $5000 fine and sentenced to 90 days of electronic home monitoring for stealing the crab pots offshore of Westport.
Beginning May 1, Breitsprecher will be required to remain at home for three months unless he requires medical attention.
WDFW says that they started investigating this case last year.
WDFW Police Captain Dan Chadwick said the department began its investigation after a deckhand on Breitsprecher’s crab boat told officers that his boss directed him to steal crab pots while fishing locally.
Chadwick said that WDFW officers and Quinault Natural Resource Enforcement seized 32 commercial crab pots from Breitsprecher’s gear and found that at least 24 of them belonged to other crabbers.
“A commercial crab pot fully rigged can run $200 to $250, so the loss of multiple pots can really add up,” he said. “We appreciate that the Grays Harbor prosecutor’s office pursued this case, because it demonstrates that the law extends to ocean waters.” Chadwick said the department also appreciated the assistance of the Quinault tribal police.
WDFW currently licenses 223 coastal crab vessels, which landed 16.4 million pounds of Dungeness crab with a dockside value of $52 million during the 2016-17 season.
Breitsprecher has told KXRO that he plans to appeal the ruling and he says that the pots were moved into his gear by another person.
Powered by WPeMatico