Crustacean Thief on the Hook for Jail Time

Stealing crabs from competitors’ Santa Barbara Harbor holding tanks, among other fishing-related offenses, will net John Anthony Wilson six months in Santa Barbara County Jail and three years of felony probation, according to the District Attorney’s Office. He will be formally sentenced in October.

Wilson pleaded no contest on Wednesday to four charges of felony grand theft and five misdemeanors tied to fishing out of season, failing to manage traps when needed, and neglecting to account for his commerical yield. The charges arose after California Fish and Wildlife discovered that Wilson had nabbed crabs from other fishermen’s tanks more than once and would sell his unreported and stolen catch at regional fish markets.

In addition to his jail time and probation, Wilson will have to repay the affected fishermen and foot the bill to Fish and Wildlife for the department’s investigation costs. He will be banned from fishing — commerically or recreationally — until Fish & Wildlife finishes its work related to the crimes. “This case demonstrates Santa Barbara County’s dedication to our fishing community and to those fishermen who do their utmost to abide by all the laws and regulations in the course of their profession that help protect our local resources,” said Deputy District Attorney Kevin Weichbrod, who handled the case.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Jon Peterson Departs Habitat for Humanity

Takes a post with Covenant Trust Company of Chicago.

Montecito Pushes Back on Streamlined Rebuild Process

Not so fast with fast-track rebuilding, leaders tell the county

St. George Files Suit Against Gelb for Unpaid Debt

Pair of Isla Vista landlords in legal tussle over property sales costs.

Thousands of Plaintiffs Added to Refugio Oil Spill Case

Litigation follows footsteps of 1969 Union Oil spill attorneys.

Push Comes to Shove Between Law Enforcement and Mental Health

County supervisors confront too many needs with not enough money.