By: Parimal M. Rohit
SANTA BARBARA – A Santa Barbara fishermen who pleaded no contest of grand theft was sentenced on Nov. 20 to serve six months in county jail and three years of felony probation.
John Wilson, 53, had pleaded no contest in August to stealing crabs from other fishermen at Santa Barbara Harbor.
Wilson must pay $3,700 in restitution to those he stole from and he is not allowed to participate in any fishing until the state’s Fish and Wildlife Department completes its investigation of the matter, Deputy District Attorney Kevin Weichbrod said.
Also according to Weichbrod, Wilson’s sentence was based upon one felony count of aqua-culture product theft and five misdemeanor counts of failure to keep accounting records, failure to maintain books, unlawful taking, the taking of lobster during closed season and failure to service crab traps.
In addition to paying restitution to the victims, Wilson agreed as part of his plea, to cover the state’s investigation costs. Weichbrod said a restitution hearing would be held to determine how much Wilson would owe the state.
The court reportedly gave Wilson some time to apply for electric monitoring. However, it is up to the Sheriff’s department to determine whether Wilson serves his term in county jail or via electric monitoring.
Wilson, the proprietor of Sea Fever Seafood and a regular at Hollywood Farmers’ Market, was arrested earlier this year after a two-month investigation by state officials.
Wilson’s assistant, Kai Griffin, was also arrested.