Authorities in Florida have thrown out a lot of lines in an attempt to catch the “Bass Pro Shop Bandit,” but they’ve unfortunately had nothing bite as of yet.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office put out this statement the day after the events occurred, saying:
“Yesterday evening, a male suspect entered the Bass Pro Shops in Gulf Coast Town Center with a fish net in hand, and proceeded to remove a live tarpon from the store’s indoor fish pond. The suspect then fled the store with the tarpon.
South District Detectives are working with our Animal Cruelty Task Force, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers in an attempt to locate the individuals involved.”
So just to recap, police in Florida are still searching for the “Florida Man” that went into a Bass Pro Shop with a net, caught a 50-pound tarpon, and then ran out of the store with it. Seems like just another Tuesday morning in Florida to me…
The video of the moment has gone viral on social media, and though I have to say the visuals are pretty funny, the legal trouble that this person could get into is very serious. The person responsible, as well as the accomplices that entered the store and filmed everything (officers say there were at least two others there with the Florida man who filmed the whole thing on a GoPro), could be facing retail theft and animal cruelty charges, with the latter being punishable with a 5-year prison sentence.
Sergeant Sarah Rodriguez told USA Today about the latest developments as they continue to search for the culprit:
“Right now, our Criminal Investigations Division is working to follow leads in the case.”
One of the big leads should be the viral video itself, which clearly shows the “Bass Pro Shop Bandit” in action. Someone has to know who this person carrying the big tarpon out of the store is, and with the Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers offering a cash reward for information, it’s really only a matter of time before they’re able to identify this Florida man: