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Coast Guard asks for help finding stolen buoy bells off Maine coast

The Coast Guard is asking the public for information on the theft of brass sound signaling devices stolen from buoys off Maine’s coast over the previous six months. (Coast Guard)

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- The U.S. Coast Guard says someone has been stealing brass sound-signaling devices from buoys off the Maine coast -- threatening the safety of mariners.

Coast Guard officials in South Portland said Thursday that the thefts pose a risk to public safety, as the brass gongs and bells produce sounds that help mariners navigate through poor visibility conditions.

Tampering with aids to navigation is a federal offense punishable by fines of up to $25,000 per day or up to one year in prison.

The Coast Guard says anyone providing information leading to a conviction may be eligible to receive up to half the fine imposed by the court.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. Chellsey Phillips says six buoys have been targeted over the last six months.

Anyone with information regarding the missing sound signaling devices are urged to contact the Sector Northern New England command center at (207) 767-0303.

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