DURHAM, N.H. — N.H. Fish and Game says a Bedford, N.H. man stole nearly 50 lobster traps from local waters, including some that belonged to a dead lobsterman.
Kyle Basoukas, 21, faces a felony receiving stolen property charge for possessing 49 stolen lobster traps. He’s also charged with molesting lobster gear for allegedly interfering with lobster traps and equipment that was not his and taking lobsters in traps without appropriate tags.
He faces an additional 130 lobster-related violations.
“This case speaks to the livelihood of New Hampshire fishermen, especially New Hampshire lobstermen,” said Lt. Michael Eastman, who leads coastal law enforcement for N.H. Fish and Game, which has an office in Durham.
“This individual was going out and taking from other lobstermen. Not only taking from living lobsterman, but he actually stole from a deceased lobsterman thinking that was OK.”
Basoukas, who holds a part-time commercial lobster fishing license and fishes off Rye, was arrested Nov. 11. He was released on personal recognizance bail, Eastman said.
Authorities spent nearly three months investigating the case, and later seized 81 traps — including the 49 that allegedly were stolen — while executing a search warrant.
Some of those traps apparently belonged to Anthony Rahn, a Portsmouth man who died in the Piscataqua River in July while checking on his gear. The Basoukas investigation is not connected to Rahn’s death, which was an accident, Eastman said.
Fish and Game officers learned Basoukas had stolen lobster gear during routine contacts in August, according to a news release. The investigation lasted so long in part because of the time needed to track down the stolen traps’ owners, Eastman said.
The felony charge for receiving stolen property was warranted because the value of the traps exceeds $1,500, he said.
Basoukas is also accused of having traps without “weak links” that prevent whales from becoming tangled in trap lines, among 130 lobster-fishing violations. Other violations include having only one buoy on trawls containing five or more traps and having traps with illegal escape panels.
Basoukas could lose his commercial lobster license for a year or more, Eastman said, in addition to any criminal sanctions.
He is due to be arraigned in Portsmouth District Court on Jan. 13.
Distributed by MCT Information Services