PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Two men have been sentenced in the theft of more than 30,000 oysters from Pensacola Bay Oyster Company.
In summer 2019, several people vandalized and stole from the Pensacola Bay Oyster Company’s East Bay farm. The farm was ransacked, more than 30,000 of oysters were stolen, and future harvest was destroyed by the killing of our breeding oysters.
“I got sympathy letters and calls. People were just appalled that someone would do this,” said Donnie McMahon, found of Pensacola Bay Oyster Company.
The Florida FWC investigated these crimes and arrested three men: Nicholas Mason, Douglas
Lowery, and Lonny Teston.
Mason and Lowery pled guilty and were sentenced by the Santa Rosa County Circuit Court. Mason pled guilty to three counts of dealing in stolen property by trafficking, criminal mischief, and 12 counts of FWC violations. He was sentenced on the felony charges to four years state prison followed by 10 years of probation. When he is released from prison and begins his probation, he is ordered to pay $22,090 restitution to Pensacola Bay Oyster Company.
Lowery pled guilty to one count of dealing in stolen property by trafficking, one count of misdemeanor criminal mischief, and 10 counts of misdemeanor FWC violations. He also pled to grand theft of over $10,000 for stealing a boat from another person’s property. The court sentenced him to three years in state prison followed by 12 years of probation. When he begins probation, he is ordered to pay $22,090 to Pensacola Bay Oyster Company.
For both Lowery and Mason, if they violate probation, then they are looking at significant prison
time. For Mason, his maximum sentence if he violates probation is 45 years in state prison. If
Lowery were to violate probation, then his maximum is 20 years in state prison.
“You just can’t do that. You’re going to get caught. And in this case, it wasn’t a slap on the hand, it was actually prison time,” McMahon said.
The final defendant, Lonny Teston, is scheduled to appear before the Court on July 6, 2021. The State is proceeding with all charges against Teston.