ELLSWORTH, Maine — Police in Ellsworth are seeking a man they say broke into a local seafood business and tried to make off with a six-gallon bucket full of elvers, the prized juvenile American eel.
Ellsworth police on Tuesday issued a warrant for Alan Perkins, a 42-year-old transient, who was allegedly confronted during the heist at Crowley Seafood on Water Street. After a brief encounter with the business owners, Perkins allegedly ran away without the goods, valued at more than $11,000, said Lt. Harold Page.
Page said that when the business owners drove by their closed shop around 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, they saw a vehicle parked there that belonged to a man they knew.
“They went back to check on the business, and Mr. Perkins had allegedly popped the door lock with a screwdriver and he was in there dipping elvers from a tank,” Page said. “One of the owners got in a little tussle with him and he took off running.”
Police attempted to locate the suspect throughout the evening, but to no avail. Page said that if anyone has any information on Perkins’ location, they should call the Ellsworth Police Department at 667-2168.
When Perkins is caught, Page said he will face charges of burglary, theft and violation of bail. Perkins has been arrested several times in the past two months, all stemming from alleged eel violations, according to a Hancock County Jail official. He was first arrested on April 12 on a charge of elver fishing without a license, and was granted bail and released the same day.
Since then, he has been booked three more times — on April 19, May 4 and May 8 — on charges of violation of conditions of bail and several additional eel violations.
Enforcement of fishing rules have kept law enforcement officials busy in the past few elver seasons, thanks in no small part to elver prices soaring higher than $2,000 per pound in recent years. That price is roughly 10 times their historical value.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.