A 371-pound brass bell assembly is the latest sound signaling device stolen from a navigational buoy within the past year in Penobscot Bay.
The U.S. Coast Guard says bells have been stolen from nine buoys in the Bay over the last nine months. Coast Guard Petty Officer Nicole Groll says that the bells play a vital role in the safe passage of ships and mariners.
“Make sure they don't hit anything,” she says. “Make sure that they don't run into any hazardous water, and sometimes these mark shallow water or rocks underneath the water where boats can't go because they will run aground.”
Groll says that tampering with aids to navigation is a federal crime and can result in fines of up to $25,000 per day or up to one year in prison. She says anyone with information about the missing bells is urged to contact the Coast Guard of Northern New England.