Deputies investigating Florida teens trespassing oceanographic center and killing fish


The Martin County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a burglary at the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center that happened earlier this month. Deputies said two brothers and their friends killed a tarpon and stole a snapper.”Anybody with half a brain knows you don’t climb a fence into the oceanographic center and go fishing,” Sheriff William Snyder of Martin County said.Surveillance video shows 18-year-old Giovanni Del Greco and 18-year-old Matteo Dal Vecchio breaking into the center with a 17 and 16-year-old on Aug. 5. The sheriff said the trespassing happened around 4 p.m. when the center was closed.”People catch tarpon all the time, it’s a game fish. They’ll pop off a scale, and then release the fish gently. And in this case, they caught the tarpon, ripped the hook out with so much force that it took part of the fish’s insides out. And they just left it there to die,” Snyder said. Around the country: National coverage from WPBF 25 NewsAll four suspects are charged with burglary. Both adults have been arrested, while the 17-year-old has been served with a warrant. The fourth teen has not been served yet.Deputies believe this group was fishing somewhere before trespassing the center. “There’s no nexus between them and the center. There’s no legitimate reason for them having done what they did. In reality, it was just pure meanness,” Snyder said.A spokesperson with the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center sent WPBF 25 News this statement below.”As a non-profit organization focused on environmental-based education, Florida Oceanographic is allowed to house animals at the Coastal Center through a strictly regulated state permit for educational purposes. Our Conservation Ambassador animals live on site specifically to cultivate a love of nature and the environment. The care and safety of these creatures is a top priority. These were not just animals– they were long-term members of our family who taught our community about wild marine creatures and how to protect them. The animals that were killed had lived with us since they were juveniles; this was their home. The amount of care, time, and effort that we put into raising them is impossible to measure. As an organization, we do not collect adult animals from the wild, and because of that, the Conservation Ambassadors that were taken from us are irreplaceable and we mourn their absence.”Deputies said the center has been a victim of similar break-ins in the past. In 2015, officials found an injured nurse shark that had been hung overnight. In 2020, deputies investigated a case where a stingray appeared to be injured. Investigators also said a suspect stole a margate fish that year. The sheriff said the center did everything it has to do in terms of security and surveillance protocols, including the post and fencing. As for August’s incident, Sheriff Snyder said they are not able to confirm an exact motive as to why they did what they did. “It appears to us, although we can’t get into their heads, but that they had every intention of killing that tarpon,” Snyder said.As for the two 18-year-old suspects, their bond has each been set at $175,000.Follow us on social: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a burglary at the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center that happened earlier this month.

Deputies said two brothers and their friends killed a tarpon and stole a snapper.

“Anybody with half a brain knows you don’t climb a fence into the oceanographic center and go fishing,” Sheriff William Snyder of Martin County said.

Surveillance video shows 18-year-old Giovanni Del Greco and 18-year-old Matteo Dal Vecchio breaking into the center with a 17 and 16-year-old on Aug. 5.

The sheriff said the trespassing happened around 4 p.m. when the center was closed.

“People catch tarpon all the time, it’s a game fish. They’ll pop off a scale, and then release the fish gently. And in this case, they caught the tarpon, ripped the hook out with so much force that it took part of the fish’s insides out. And they just left it there to die,” Snyder said.

Around the country: National coverage from WPBF 25 News

All four suspects are charged with burglary. Both adults have been arrested, while the 17-year-old has been served with a warrant. The fourth teen has not been served yet.

Deputies believe this group was fishing somewhere before trespassing the center.

“There’s no nexus between them and the center. There’s no legitimate reason for them having done what they did. In reality, it was just pure meanness,” Snyder said.

A spokesperson with the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center sent WPBF 25 News this statement below.

“As a non-profit organization focused on environmental-based education, Florida Oceanographic is allowed to house animals at the Coastal Center through a strictly regulated state permit for educational purposes. Our Conservation Ambassador animals live on site specifically to cultivate a love of nature and the environment. The care and safety of these creatures is a top priority. These were not just animals– they were long-term members of our family who taught our community about wild marine creatures and how to protect them. The animals that were killed had lived with us since they were juveniles; this was their home. The amount of care, time, and effort that we put into raising them is impossible to measure. As an organization, we do not collect adult animals from the wild, and because of that, the Conservation Ambassadors that were taken from us are irreplaceable and we mourn their absence.”

Deputies said the center has been a victim of similar break-ins in the past.

In 2015, officials found an injured nurse shark that had been hung overnight.

In 2020, deputies investigated a case where a stingray appeared to be injured. Investigators also said a suspect stole a margate fish that year.

The sheriff said the center did everything it has to do in terms of security and surveillance protocols, including the post and fencing.

As for August’s incident, Sheriff Snyder said they are not able to confirm an exact motive as to why they did what they did.

“It appears to us, although we can’t get into their heads, but that they had every intention of killing that tarpon,” Snyder said.

As for the two 18-year-old suspects, their bond has each been set at $175,000.

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