Probe of South Thomaston lobster co-op theft extends to southern Maine

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Posted Oct. 04, 2012, at 4:08 p.m.

SOUTH THOMASTON, Maine — Police searched four locations, including a seafood business in Eliot, this week as part of a local, state and federal investigation into an alleged theft at one of the state’s largest lobster cooperatives.

Robert Thompson, 51, of St. George was arrested Wednesday and charged with felony theft. He was released from the Knox County Jail in Rockland on $100,000 surety bail Wednesday afternoon.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office, which has been looking into the case since the beginning of the year, announced Thursday that it executed four search warrants across the state — three on Wednesday and one on Thursday. On Wednesday, Knox officers searched Thompson’s residence in St. George, his camp in Rockwood and a local bank that the department would not identify. On Thursday morning, along with the Eliot Police Department, Knox officers conducted a search at J.P. Shellfish.

Thompson had been the wharf manager for the Spruce Head Fishermen’s Cooperative on Spruce Head Island in South Thomaston for approximately 20 years.

The Knox office has received assistance from the Maine Marine Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard, National Marine Fisheries Service and Internal Revenue Service.

Sheriff Donna Dennison and Chief Deputy Tim Carroll said Thursday on the steps of the Knox County courthouse that evidence, much consisting of documents, was seized at each place searched Wednesday and earlier Thursday.

Carroll said the amount of money and other items possibly stolen has not yet been calculated but that the total exceeds $10,000, which makes the alleged crime a felony. He said it will take more time to go over the extensive amount of evidence in the case.

The sheriff’s office said it is not known if more people will be charged.

The cooperative, which has 80 members, has been operating since 1972.

A man who answered the phone Thursday at J.P. Shellfish said he had no comment.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/10/04/news/midcoast/probe-of-south-thomaston-lobster-co-op-theft-extends-to-southern-maine/ printed on December 26, 2014