RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- The Tahoe Lobster Company broke new ground this summer by being the first to harvest crawfish from the lake. Now they say they're being robbed - putting their company and the clarity of the lake at risk.
"Just stop stealing from us," Tahoe Lobster Company owner Fred Jackson said.
Jackson harvests crawfish - an invasive species - from Lake Tahoe. He says thousands of dollars of his property has been stolen from the lake since August - and they can't move operations.
"We're limited to the Nevada side only," said Justin Pulliam, Jackson's nephew who helps run the company.
They say they started harvesting in Sand Harbor and it was working until they moved south.
"We didn't lose anything during the whole tourist season," Jackson said.
They say they didn't have any problems at Sand Harbor and the issues started when they began dropping traps at the Cave Rock boat launch.
Jackson says so far 77 traps are missing - which is about eight thousand dollars worth of crawfish and supplies.
Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy says that means it's much bigger than just wildlife.
"We're talking about felony theft and possession of stolen property," Healy said. "Most of the time people are out there alone with just their ethics. There's not a warden or a sheriff's officer watching them behave."
"Etiquette is pretty much you do your thing and don't mess with everybody else's stuff," Pulliam said.
But they say it's not just stuff - the thefts are putting the clarity of the lake at risk.
"Everybody agrees removing a lot of the crawfish from Lake Tahoe is good for Lake Tahoe," Healy said.
Jackson isn't after vengeance. He just wants the thefts to stop so he can get back to business.
"Let bygones be bygones and let's just keep moving," Jackson said.
Until then they'll leave traps in the lake for less time to try to prevent more thefts.
The Carson City Sheriff's Office and the Coast Guard are investigating, but they want your help. If you have any information about these disappearing crawfish call the NDOW Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-992-3030.