Bass Pro Shops fish thief at large after allegedly swiping live tarpon from Florida store's pond, deputies say

A rather fishy situation unfolded at a Bass Pro Shops in Southwest Florida this week.

Deputies with the Lee County Sheriff's Office are on the hunt for a male suspect who's accused of grabbing a fishing net from a shelf at the hunting and fishing store in the Gulf Coast Town Center and removing a 50-pound live tarpon from the store's fish pond on Wednesday evening. 

The man then fled the store with the tarpon in an unknown direction, officials said. 

Officials shared a video that a witness apparently shot at the store via Snapchat, which shows a man wearing dark-colored pants, a navy blue T-shirt and a fishing- or safari-style hat carrying the tarpon. 

"LSCO is attempting to locate retail theft suspect. But not just your 'normal retail theft," deputies wrote on Facebook. "We guess you could say THIS one will o-fish-ially catch your eye."

The Lee County Sheriff's Office is working with its Animal Cruelty Task Force, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and SWFL Crime Stoppers to find the person or people involved in this incident. 

"The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is 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," a spokesperson for the FWC told FOX 35. "I will provide updates when they become available."


Anyone with information about this incident is urged to "drop a line" to SWFL Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS or online at You can also contact the Lee County Sheriff's Office directly at 239-477-1000. 

"We’re #FishingForInformation & would love nothin’ more than to chum it up with this guy," deputies wrote on Facebook. "Don't Get Caught Aiding & A-bait-ing."