By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Forget about the sharks, the gas prices, and Anthony Weiner. None of those plagues are the real threat to our well-being this summer.

Instead, that would be the rash of oyster heists down the Cape, a previously rare crime that is suddenly costing local oyster farmers a lot of clams.

Just last Monday, a town-run farm in Barnstable was looted of 3,000 oysters. A private farm in East Dennis has been hit for more than 40,000 oysters – over 3,300 dozen – and the containers they were being grown in.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Local officials say they’ve never seen anything like it. And they suspect it’s the work of pros with an easy way to fence the oysters.

Oyster-farming is a costly, painstaking process, so this is a serious problem. Please, no jokes about the crooks using tiny forks to break in.

In fact, beyond the monetary losses suffered by these farmers, we should be taking this bivalve crime binge especially seriously because it’s an unprecedented strike against the jewels of our local cuisine.

Oysters are not only a major profit center for restaurants that mark them up 300-percent or more, they’ve become a regional icon that draws tourists to whole festivals built around them, where they pour badly-needed fuel into our economy.

And they are a natural symbol of what makes New Englanders great – if you work hard to enough to break through our hard, sharp-edged shell, you will find a salty treat inside that can, and will, stand up to lemon juice or cocktail sauce.

What kind of quahog tries to stockpile stolen oysters?

I urge law enforcement to make this a priority.

Crack these cases, and we’ll all dine out on the return of law and oyster.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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