Alexander Ramer found a way to kill off the competition, say police.
The reason? Police say Ramer, 25, is in the live bait fish business and wanted to sabotage a competitor. Bait fish are used by seasoned anglers to lure larger, predatory fish – and in this case, they aren’t cheap.
And with customers placing orders ahead of some upcoming fishing tournaments, Ramer took extreme measures to undercut Dynamite Live Bait, a company owned by Gary Case, 58, of Boynton Beach, according to a Boynton Beach police arrest report.
“I think it’s terrible,” Case said on Thursday. “I lost a lot of money and I don’t know why he would (do this), other than personal gain.”
Ramer arrived by boat at the back of Case’s Ocean Inlet Drive house, on the Intracoastal Waterway, around 2 a.m. on May 31, according to the report.
He didn’t know it at the time, but Case’s surveillance cameras were trained on the bait pen, which is submerged in the water. They were filming when Ramer approached the pen and poured two buckets of liquid bleach into the water, police said.
About 2,340 fish were killed, a total that included 170 dozen Goggle Eye and 25 dozen Speedo bait fish. Case, according to the report, said he sells the Goggle Eyes for $100 a dozen and the Speedos for $150 dozen.
Police estimated the loss to be worth about $20,000, while Case said Thursday that the loss figure is closer to $30,000.
While the arrest report said Ramer works for a local company called Target Live Bait Inc., a representative of the Palm Beach County-based Target said Ramer is an independent fisherman who sells bait himself, but does not work for Target Live Bait.
“He has sold us fish before but he’s not employee,” said Robert Lawson, who started the company. “We had no knowledge of any of this and never put him up to it.”
Upon noticing the mass killing of the fish and the strong odor of bleach, Case checked his cameras, police said. The cameras showed not only a person pouring a liquid, but also the boat that the person had used to travel to Case’s property.
The scales of justice would catch up with Ramer, thanks to the boat. Case recognized the vessel’s name, Xgeneration, because it was Case who had sold the boat to Ramer, his former neighbor, police said.
Case contacted the Ramer family and set up a meeting. On June 1, Ramer and his father arrived at the Case home to discuss the situation with Case and three other family members that included Case’s wife, his son and his son’s girlfriend. Later, all of the Case family members would complete sworn written statement’s attesting to Ramer’s admission, police said.
“(Ramer) admits he poured four gallons of liquid bleach into Case’s bait pen to eliminate the Dynamite live bait from the competition,” the arrest report says.
He faces a felony charge of criminal mischief, court records show.
Source: Sun Sentinel