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    $1 Million Underwater Liverock Heist

    via flickr : cc : nat tarbox Florida Keys law enforcement officers are investigating a $1 million dollar heist of diamonds aquacultured liverock from Neal Novak’s designated aquafarm, 3miles off of Islamorada. The total weight is estimated to be 300,000 pounds. With a wholesale price of $3/lb  this may be the most valuable aquarium related underwater […]

    liverock

    via flickr : cc : nat tarbox

    Florida Keys law enforcement officers are investigating a $1 million dollar heist of diamonds aquacultured liverock from Neal Novak’s designated aquafarm, 3miles off of Islamorada. The total weight is estimated to be 300,000 pounds. With a wholesale price of $3/lb  this may be the most valuable aquarium related underwater robbery, ever? Novak spent over 2 years hauling the dry rock out to the aquafarm and placing it in 20ft of water.

    “Novak, a captain for TowBoat U.S., said he started the live rock harvesting company in 2005. It took six months to obtain a federal permit from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for a one-acre leased aqua farm.”

    A spokesperson from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary confirmed where the aqua farm was located and Novak’s permits. The owner states he discovered the theft on May 13th when he and his wife went to harvest the rock–it was the first time in a year and a half since he had checked on the farm and the rock was not insured.

    Novak set up holding tanks in his home and planned to sell the rock online and to LFS, but with only 30,000-50,000 pounds left he says, “it’s financially ruined me… I put over $100,000 into the company and now I might have to go bankrupt.

     

    [via Miami Herald]

     

    13 Comments

    1. Greg Carroll
      June 17, 2009 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

      I have to wonder why he waited for 1.5 years without even checking on his investment. It’s not like the theft just happened overnight. It too 2 long years to get it out there. Although the theif is a bad person, Neal should have been monitoring his investment.

    2. Nicholas Sadaka
      June 17, 2009 at 10:43 AM | Permalink

      I’ve gotta say that I feel real badly for him. He’s trying to do things the right way and now is taking a HUGE hit. Maybe he should’ve checked on his rock cache, but I mean, does anyone really expect someone to steal that much rock? The thief is 100% to blame. It’s like on some of those police videos you see where they leave a bike in an unlocked truck and monitor it and then arrest people who steal it. Is it entrapment? Maybe a little bit, but what justifies taking something that’s not yours? Nothing. You shouldn’t only be doing the right thing because an opportunity to do the wrong thing hasn’t presented itself. You’ve either worked for something or you haven’t…there’s no in-between. That’s a real shame and the guy certainly has my sympathies. What can you really do though? Lock down your rock in a cage or something? That’s really tough.

    3. pavlo
      June 17, 2009 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

      From what i understand, Mr. Novak has been caring for his parents for the past year and a half in addition to working a full time job as a boat captain. This may explain why he hadn’t checked on his investment in some time. It’s easy for people who don’t know the whole story, or perhaps have never made investments themselves to pass judgment on this poor man. I feel Mr. Novak’s pain and truly wish him the best of luck in this unfortunate time in his life.

    4. June 17, 2009 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

      OMG

    5. Nicholas Sadaka
      June 17, 2009 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

      Once again, I just want to say that he really should not have to justify why he did not check on his rock. The people who took it knew it wasn’t there’s and would probably have found a way to take it regardless. It was wrong to steal that rock and it’s really that simple.

    6. June 17, 2009 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

      To me it sounds like
      it was somebody that worked close to him
      that knew about the buisness/trade and or spot,
      and took advantage of the time where he was off site.
      sucks i hope they catch those low lifes.
      f.

    7. Greg Carroll
      June 17, 2009 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

      I am not saying that the theif is not 100% responsible for the wrong doing. I guess being raised in So Cal I have found that people can/will steal anything that is not bolted down. Even in the wealthiest of neighborhoods people do not leave their cars or homes unlocked. I guess we are conditioned that way.

      In So Cal, we just tend to expect that if you leave it and it’s worth something, then it will probably be stolen. I guess it’s different where you guys come from. Sorry.

    8. June 17, 2009 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

      Felix, I agree. 3 miles offshore, it’s unlikely someone would stumble on one acre of rock – and even more unlikely that whoever would stumble upon it would have any interest.

    9. Jeremy Maneyapanda
      June 17, 2009 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

      Food for thought- if 300,000 pounds of CULTURED rock was stolen, how much natural rock do you think has been poached? From places where there is no “inventory”, or it is not even checked anywhere even close to every 2 years?

    10. Nicholas Sadaka
      June 18, 2009 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

      @Greg-it’s no thing. I wasn’t trying to attack anyone, I just think it’s a little unfair that sometimes victims catch a little bit of the blame for not being very street smart. I’ve lived my entire life right outside of Baltimore, so I’m right in the hub of crime (and yes, The Wire was pretty much 100% accurate)and completely understand what you’re saying. We lock everything up all the time too, but at the same time, if someone chose not to and someone invaded their home and stole and hurt them, you still couldn’t really blame them at all. Again, I wasn’t trying to be harsh and apologize if it came off that way…just voicing my opinion from a person in a high crime area that’s tired of criminals not getting the full blame. Bottom line is it’s a bad world going downhill and bad things are going to happen, but those victims certainly have my complete sympathy.

    11. sam
      June 19, 2009 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

      I’ve read that these ‘farms’ need to be constantly maintained and every time there is a tropical storm the rock piles get covered by sand and need to be dug up and re-piled. I’d bet since it was left alone for so long, the rock simply got buried. Also, harvesting that much rock off the bottom of the ocean would take months. I doubt anyone could have pulled that off without getting caught.

    12. ziyaad
      February 22, 2010 at 6:37 AM | Permalink

      Shit!

    13. Anonymous
      February 22, 2010 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

      Shit!

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