Crime & Courts

Troopers: Homer man stole $85,000 worth of frozen fish and crab

A Homer man faces two felony charges after Alaska State Troopers say he stole around $85,000 in frozen fish and crab from a fish processing business on the Kenai Peninsula.

Garrett Shaw Fitzgerald, 53, was charged Friday with first-degree theft and second-degree burglary, troopers said. Troopers say that Fitzgerald broke into Tanner's Fresh Fish Processing in Ninilchik at 2:50 a.m. Wednesday.

Owner Jason Tanner said the door to his business was kicked in and $400 dollars was stolen before the suspect went into the commercial freezer.

Surveillance footage showed the thief spent an hour walking back and forth between the freezer and a vehicle outside. He carried box after box of frozen salmon, halibut, king crab and smoked fish.

"Every time I saw him, I go, 'Oh, there's a thousand bucks,'" Tanner said.

Troopers say about 3,000 pounds in frozen seafood was stolen from the business. Investigators believe an accomplice helped Fitzgerald, and that a second vehicle was also used to load up the stolen product, said spokeswoman Megan Peters.

All told, the frozen seafood was worth about $85,000 at retail prices, Tanner said.

Fitzgerald was arrested Friday in Soldotna, troopers said. Some of the stolen fish was recovered, but nearly all of it is unusable, Tanner said.

"He was cutting it open and repackaging it," Tanner said. Fish was found in loose bags, some thawed. None of the king crab has been recovered, he said.

Fitzgerald was in custody at Kenai's Wildwood Pretrial facility on Friday, online records show.

Tanner asked that people in Southcentral Alaska keep an eye out for the rest of the stolen seafood. Troopers said the investigation is ongoing, and asked that anyone with tips contact them.

"If there's a fire sale on king crab let me know about it, cause it's probably mine," Tanner said.

Laurel Andrews

Laurel Andrews was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in October 2018.

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