Originally created 07/23/02

Store vandals kill hundreds of fish

Hundreds of tropical fish were belly-up at Bob's Tropical Fish store in Augusta when the owner went to the business Sunday, and authorities suspect vandals tossed chlorine tablets in the tanks to kill them.

Owner Bob Hockman said he found between 500 and 600 dead fish in several tanks that are kept outside behind the Washington Road business. The tanks are in a covered section, and the rear of the business is protected by barbed-wire fencing.

Mr. Hockman said he found evidence that someone had thrown chlorine tablets over the fence "like snowballs."

"Whoever did it had to know they were killing the fish because chlorine is toxic," he said Sunday, taking a break from cleaning out two dozen tanks. "This was a sick, twisted, perverted individual."

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is investigating the case, and anyone responsible for killing the fish could be charged with second-degree criminal damage to property, a felony, Maj. Ken Autry said.

The fish that were killed were in a special area for outdoor fish, kept there to acclimate them for later use in water gardens or garden ponds. The fish ranged in price from $1 to $100. They included goldfish, koi, pond comets, shubun-kins and sarasa comets.

"There were some rather nice fish," Mr. Hockman said. He estimated their value at more than $3,000.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the sheriff's office at 821-1080.

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or greg.rickabaugh@augustachronicle.com.


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