Police: Brooklyn Men Busted Trying To Sell $500K Worth Of Stolen Eels On A Street Corner

Image courtesy of NYPD

If there was ever a time that the joke, “Is that an eel in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?” could work, it would’ve been in Brooklyn recently, when cops said they busted three men who allegedly tried to sell $500,000 worth of stolen, frozen eels on a street corner.

New York Police helped Mars Global, the real owners of the barbecue-style eels, track down the men accused of stealing the seafood from a shipping terminal in Elizabeth, N.J. almost three months ago, the New York Daily News reports.

Officials say the suspects hired a truck driver and provided fake paperwork to transport the eels from the terminal to Brooklyn. All told, about 2,000 boxes of eels were stolen, at a value of about $1.04 million.

The eels’ true owners contacted the police, prompting an investigation by the NYPD’s Criminal Enterprise Investigations unit. The owners also took to the streets, finding their product in restaurants and markets in New York and reporting back to the police.

“We tried to see who’s selling our roasted eel, roast barbecue eel,” said a company rep.

The eel owners and law enforcement set up a sting to buy back 200 boxes of their own product this week, outside a restaurant on a corner in Brooklyn. The three alleged thieves then tried to sell about $491,000 worth of the product and were arrested on charges of felony criminal possession of stolen property.

Another 745 cases of eels were recovered from the men’s warehouse, police said, leaving the original owners still at a loss.

“It’s a small company. This could kill the company,” said the Mars Global representative. “Unfortunately, we didn’t recover the whole thing. It’s a lot of money.”

Trio busted for peddling $1M worth of frozen eels [New York Daily News]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.