HARPSWELL — After a monthlong investigation, two men were charged Nov. 1 with theft in Harpswell’s largest lobster heist in nearly a decade, according to Marine Patrol Col. Jon Cornish.
Troy J. Woodman, 34, of Warren, and Shane Hall, 29, of Portland, were arrested for allegedly stealing 19 lobster crates containing more than $9,000 worth of lobster from Quahog Bay.
The thefts took place between September and October, and ended “after 10 days of surveillance paid off,” Cornish said. Marine Patrol Officers Rebecca Kavanaugh and Christopher Hilton, and Sgt. Robert Beal conducted the surveillance.
Marine Patrol Communications Director Jeff Nichols said the lobsters were stolen from crates in the water after the crustaceans were harvested, not from traps. Nichols wasn’t sure how many lobsters would be contained in 19 crates.
“We take cases like this very seriously,” Cornish said in a statement. “Theft of this magnitude deprives hardworking, law-abiding Mainers of their livelihood and undermines our coastal economy. I’m very proud of the officers and sergeant for their thorough investigation.”
Beal arrested Woodman on Oct. 17, when he was taken to Cumberland County Jail.
Hall is being held in Knox County Jail, where he faces six unrelated charges, including aggravated assault and kidnapping. According to a September press release, Hall allegedly forced a woman into his car as she walked home in Rockland.
Woodman was charged with a Class C theft and Hall with Class C and D theft.
Class C crimes carry a penalty of up to five years in jail and a fine of $5,000, while Class D crimes are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of $2,000, according to police.
Cornish called the theft “very untypical” and “one of the largest thefts we’ve had in many years.” He said the case was notable not only for the number of lobsters stolen, but also for the number of times the crates were robbed – as many as six times, he said Wednesday.
Cornish said as far as he knows, the courts do not typically require fishermen to be compensated for their loss after a theft.
According to the Marine Patrol, an investigation into the sale and purchase of the lobsters is continuing.