Man Accused of Stealing Tracker From Great White Shark and Terrifying Swimmers With Hoax Alerts
Police say the 48-year-old man accidentally reeled in a great white shark while fishing, then snagged the creature’s tracking tag to start a hoax.
A Western Australian man is facing charges after authorities say he created “unnecessary fear” by impersonating a great white and setting off hoax shark alerts up and down the coast.
The 48-year-old man, who has not been named, apparently opted to terrify his neighbors after accidentally reeling in a shark when he was fishing. While he released the shark back into the water, police in Albany say he pocketed the tracking tag that was fitted on the fearsome creature to help authorities monitor the animal and prevent any potential attacks. The so-called “acoustic monitoring tag” emits a signal that triggers a shark alert if the animal swims close to an acoustic receiver.
The alert is then sent out to tens of thousands of people in the area.
If there were any doubt about whether the man’s hijinks were deliberate, police say he used the stolen tracking tag to set off shark alerts on seven different occasions between Aug. 13 and Sept. 1.
“WA police have charged a 48-year-old man with theft in connection with the alleged theft of an ‘acoustic monitor tag’ used in tracking great white sharks by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD),” reads a statement from police issued to Guardian Australia.
The man has a court hearing scheduled for Nov. 4. He’s also gotten quite a public scolding from police for his “irresponsible” antics.
“It leaves an untagged white shark that we know is in waters off Albany,” Sen. Sgt Hugh Letessier was quoted saying by the Albany Advertiser. “Also the false alarm causes unnecessary fear to residents and people using the water.”