A Barnstable County Grand Jury Friday indicted a West Yarmouth man in connection with a series of oyster thefts that had occurred in recent months. According to a release from the Cape & Islands District Attorney's Office, 37-year-old Michael E. Bryant was indicted on six counts of larceny of property, shellfish sales violation, shellfish contaminated area and commercial fishing license violation.
An investigation into stolen oysters began this past summer when oyster growers in Dennis and Barnstable reported the theft of thousands of oysters and plastic cages to police.
Police narrowed in on Bryant in late October, according to the DA's Office when officers observed Bryant raking oysters in a closed area in Yarmouth. After determining that Bryant was not legally licensed, investigators executed a consent search at his home where they seized oysters and harvesting equipment.
The case is still under investigation by Barnstable police and Massachusetts Environmental Police. Bryant will soon be arraigned in Barnstable Superior Court.
A second man was charged and pleaded guilty in connection with the oyster case, according to the DA's Office. Joseph A. Vaudo, 62, of Sandwich pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property, directly and willfully misleading a police officer or investigator who is furthering a criminal investigation and failure or refusal to file statistical reports of wholesale and retail shellfish dealers. Following Vaudo's guilty plea Friday in Barnstable District Court, he was ordered to pay $6,250 in fines and court costs. Joseph Vaudo is the owner of Joe's Lobster & Fish Mart in Sandwich. He began the retail store at the canal in 1971, according to his website.