GreeneStreets. Feature photo of a back country road in Greene County, Indiana. Courtesy of Nick Schneider.

Two kayakers arrested, accused of stealing fishing nets and buoys out of White River

Kyle Matthew Hall

Kyle Matthew Hall

When a couple of fishermen caught a couple of kayakers allegedly stealing their nets and equipment out of White River, the fishermen got the two kayakers into their boat, tied onto the kayaks, then called the sheriff’s department and told them to come pick up the suspects.

Kyle Matthew Hall, 24, of Bloomfield, and Zachariah Isaiah Mitchell, 26, also of Bloomfield, were arrested and both have been charged with theft, a Class A misdemeanor, and criminal mischief, a Class B misdemeanor.

Both were booked into the Greene County Jail on Tuesday, May 1, by Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Harvey Holt. In both cases, their bond was set at $1,500 surety with ten percent allowed and they were both released later the same day after posting $150 cash each.

One of the fishermen had called in to the sheriff’s department around 7:30 p.m. on May 1 to report that he and another fisherman had commercial fishing nets in the White River and they had just caught two male subjects trying to steal their nets. He said the two fishermen had the two suspects in their boat and they would meet deputies at the boat ramp in Elliston.

Zachariah I. Mitchell

Zachariah I. Mitchell

Deputy Harvey Holt was dispatched and reported that when he arrived at the boat ramp west of Bloomfield, the fishermen had the two suspects sitting in the front of their boat and had the suspects’ kayaks tied to the back of the boat.

The fishermen explained that they were out in a boat checking on their commercial fishing lines when they saw two male kayakers messing with one of their nets. Both fishermen told the same story. They said when they approached the kayakers, one of the kayakers threw one of the nets into the river and it sank. The fishermen also said both kayakers had one of their buoys in their kayak. The fishermen told the deputy that the kayakers had admitted to stealing the nets.

The kayakers were identified as Hall and Mitchell and the deputy reported that when he asked Hall and Mitchell if what the fishermen were saying was true, Hall did not answer but Mitchell admitted he had one net.

The fishermen said they were missing two nets and two Indiana DNR fishing tags. The nets were valued at $200 each and the anchors valued at $40 each, plus the cost of the fishing tags.

Deputy Holt transported the two kayakers to the Greene County Sheriff’s Department for interviews.

In probable cause affidavits prepared by the deputy, he wrote that Mitchell was cooperative and said the two kayakers were out fishing when they came across a buoy that he assumed was abandoned. Mitchell said he pulled on the buoy, did not see anything attached to it, so he unhooked the buoy and put it in his kayak.

Continuing on down the river, he said they came across a second buoy which was connected to a net. According to Holt, Mitchell admitted he unhooked the net and put it in his kayak. He allegedly said the two kayakers agreed to take the nets and use them at a sandbar on the river. 

Holt said Mitchell told him they then located a third buoy but as they were pulling up the net, which had a fishing tag attached, they threw the net back in the water. When they were approached by the fishermen, Mitchell said he panicked and threw a net overboard.

Two nets allegedly sank in the river and were not recovered.

Holt said when Hall was interviewed, Hall denied taking any nets or possessing a buoy and would not answer questions or say if the two kayakers had discussed using the nets.

Both kayakers appeared for initial hearings on May 7. Public defenders were appointed to represent them.

Hall also has another case pending. Last October he was charged with disorderly conduct and public intoxication, both Class B misdemeanors. That case was on hold because Hall entered into a pre-trial diversion agreement. But on May 4, after the new case was filed, a motion was made by the state and the case is now scheduled back in court at the end of the month.