‘Hold His Head Underwater’: Video Appears To Show Man Casually Stealing 50-Pound Live Fish From Bass Pro Shop

(Public/Screenshot/YouTube/NBC2 News)

John Oyewale Contributor
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Surveillance video appears to show a man stealing a large Atlantic tarpon from a Bass Pro Shops location in southwest Florida, a local NBC affiliate reported Monday.

The suspect walked into a camera’s field of view holding a fishing net with the 50-pound tarpon inside it in full view of the other customers while another man appeared to be filming him from behind, the video provided by NBC2 News showed.

The suspect stole the silver king tarpon using a net taken from a shelf in the Fort Myers store while two men wearing GoPro cameras accompanied the suspect and recorded the incident, NBC2 reported.

“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,” Chance Floyd, a Bass Pro employee, told NBC2.

A law enforcement team that includes the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Lee County’s Animal Cruelty Task Force and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is on the hunt for the suspect, the outlet reported. (RELATED: Thieves Allegedly Steal Several Hundred Gallons Of Cooking Oil From Chick-Fil-A)

The tarpon, which the FWC declared a protected species in Florida in 2013, is unlikely to still be alive, as a tarpon its size must remain in water to survive, per the FWC.

“Somebody wanted attention and didn’t care about the fish, didn’t have any respect for the fish and its species,” Jerry Guyer, a professional tarpon catch-and-release fisherman with over 34 years of experience, told NBC2 News. “Whatever this guy’s motivation was, it was wild, ill-informed. And hopefully if they catch him, they’ll hold his head underwater for five minutes. Shame on you, shame on you.”