Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: June 13-19

Reminder for the week: Visitors to fishing areas, boat ramps and wildlife areas reminded to take trash with them when they leave

DOVER – To achieve public compliance through education and enforcement actions that help conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources and ensure safe boating and public safety, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between June 13-19 made 1,939 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 253 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 45 complaints and issued 52 citations. This week, with an expanded Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence continuing to be deployed as a deterrent, no citations were issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail.

Incidents of note:

  • On June 16, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested Robert L. Wheatley, 73, of Seaford, and charged him with two counts of carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and one count each of hunting from a motor vehicle and driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) near Seaford. Wheatley was released pending a mandatory court appearance at a later date.
  • On June 14, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited Alexander Bati, 45, of Wilmington, for recreational crab pot tampering and Timothy Roehm, 53, of Lititz, Pa., for use of a recreational crab pot without required turtle excluder on the Inland Bays. Both face fines of $107 each, including court costs.

Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:

Wildlife Conservation: Trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (2).

Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (6), recreational crab pot tampering (1), use of recreational crab pots without required turtle excluder (1), possession of undersized weakfish (1), and possession of undersized summer flounder (1).
Commercial: Improper display of commercial crabbing license number on crab pot floats (22).

Boating and Boating Safety: Negligent operation of a vessel (1), operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (2), no life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (1), operating/riding a personal watercraft without wearing a lifejacket as required by law (2), failure to observe slow-no-wake zone (1), allowing use of a non-compliant vessel (1), no boat ramp certificate (1), and no boating education certificate (5).

Public Safety: Driving under the influence (1), carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle (2), and hunting from a motor vehicle (1).

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police News, Training and Outreach
On June 17, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police’s new K-9 teams AFC Chelsea Allen and K-9 Officer River and AFC Josh Hudson and K-9 Officer Rosco graduated from the Maryland Natural Resources Police K-9 Academy following an intensive 10-week training course. The K-9s and their partners are now certified in human tracking, evidence location and wildlife evidence tracking of deer and wild turkeys.

Are you AWARE?
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind visitors to state wildlife areas, fishing piers, public boat launching facilities and multi-use areas to take any trash they generate with them when they leave.

“Littering can be a problem, especially in many fishing areas, so please observe the carry-in, carry-out rule and leave no trace behind,” said Sgt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. “Those who are caught leaving trash in these areas will be fined for littering.”

For more information on individual wildlife areas, including the rules and regulations specific to each area, visitors are encouraged to review Delaware wildlife area maps published by the Division of Fish & Wildlife. The maps are available in hard copy at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, and also can be found online at Delaware Wildlife Area Maps.

DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife recognizes and thanks the majority of anglers, hunters and boaters who comply with and support Delaware’s fishing, hunting and boating laws and regulations. Citizens are encouraged to report fish, wildlife and boating violations to the Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police by calling 302-739-4580. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030 or online at

Contact: Sgt. John McDerby, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 231