Island man accused of stealing lobsters, boat

By Stephen Betts | Apr 03, 2017
Photo by: Knox County Jail Jason L. Marriner

Vinalhaven — A 48-year-old Vinalhaven fisherman was arrested Saturday, April 1, after state officials say he stole lobsters and a boat.

Jason L. Marriner was arrested by the Maine Marine Patrol and charged with felony theft, unauthorized use of property and receiving stolen property.

Marriner made his initial appearance Monday, April 3, in Knox County Unified Court, where Judge Susan Sparaco set bail at $500 cash or $50,000 surety. He entered no plea because one of the charges is a felony and the case had not yet been presented to a grand jury.

Marriner asked to be provided a court-appointed attorney. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 1.

According to an affidavit filed in court by the Maine Marine Patrol, investigators had been looking into thefts of lobster crates with lobsters inside, and outboard motorboats on three occasions in Carver's Harbor on Vinalhaven. The thefts were reported Oct. 30, Jan. 1 and Jan. 18. The first two occurred at the Vinalhaven Fisherman's Cooperative and the latest one at Americanus Lobster, owned by Linda Bean.

There were video surveillance recordings taken at each of the locations, but the perpetrator shielded his face from the camera. The man in the video is seen inspecting crates and then takes a small outboard motorboat from the dock and is seen leaving.

The manager and an employee of Americanus told investigators they believe -- based on a review of the video surveillance -- that the person was Marriner, according to the affidavit.

The investigators also pointed out that they were aware that Marriner's lobster boat was out of service for mechanical reasons, and therefore he would not have hauled any traps.

The affidavit quotes the Marine Patrol officers as reporting that they determined that Marriner came over to Rockland on the Maine State Ferry and sold lobsters at the Rockland Fish Pier on the morning of Jan. 18, hours after the theft that day occurred.

Investigators checked with the dealer who purchased the lobsters and found that they had bands on their claws with the words "Linda Bean's Vinalhaven Maine," according to the affidavit.

Marriner told investigators that the lobsters he sold had been stored in a crate attached to his lobster boat that was in the harbor. A Marine Patrol officer reported, however, that he had patroled by Marriner's boat a few days earlier and had not seen any floating crates, according to the affidavit.

The lobsters were valued at more than $1,000. The outboard motorboat stolen in the Jan. 18 theft was later found partially submerged in water.

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