The former owner of a seafood company in Cape Cod has been arrested for allegedly killing $10,000 worth of lobsters after cutting off the oxygen supply to the animals.
Joseph Vaudo, the former owner of the Superior Lobster & Seafood store in the town of Sandwich, Massachusetts, was arrested and charged with felony vandalism and illegal dumping for the incident that allegedly occurred last Thursday.
In a statement posted to Facebook on Saturday, the Sandwich Police Department said that Vaudo was filmed on surveillance footage at the market turning off the oxygen supply for the lobsters.
“Video surveillance from June 24th at approximately 9:18pm, showed a male party illegally throw trash in the company’s commercial dumpster then proceed to turn off the compressor and oxygen supply to the live seafood tank,” Sandwich police said.
“The investigation revealed a monetary loss of approximately $10,000 in damaged seafood. The suspect observed on the video was positively identified as Joseph Vaudo.”
The Cape Cod Times reported on Monday that the police were also able to identify Vaudo through bags of rubbish left next to the dumpster that included some of his discarded mail.
The authorities were alerted to the alleged crime on Saturday morning when the store’s manager arrived at the market to find that power boxes in the back of the shop had been turned off and saw that the seafood tank was without water circulation or oxygen flow.
Officers from the Sandwich Police Department arrested Vaudo at his home on Friday afternoon after evaluating the evidence.
Vaudo, who used to own the store, was ordered by the court to forfeit possession of it in December. The decision came close to 2 years after he filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, according to the Times.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court gave Vaudo until the end of January 2021 to remove any signs, lighting and any other equipment owned by him from the store.
In 2014, Vaudo lost his license to sell fish and shellfish after pleading guilty to stealing oysters and not properly documenting shellfish records. He later obtained a retail food license in October 2017 from Sandwich’s health department.
The police department confirmed that Vaudo is prohibited from entering the premises of the restaurant and was arraigned in court on Monday where he pleaded not guilty to the charges.