Tackle shop reacts to recent shoplifting incident

White Water Outfitters in Hampton Bays has instituted enhanced security measures following the April 20 arrest of Al Falussy, owner of Aquebogue’s Big Al’s Bait & Tackle, who was caught on video surveillance allegedly stealing a fishing reel on April 14.

News of the incident spread quickly through the local fishing community after White Water Outfitters posted video and photographic evidence on its social media platforms of Mr. Falussy allegedly stealing a custom Accurate BV2-600 fishing reel on April 23. The Instagram post has garnered more than 1,100 likes and almost 200 comments as of Tuesday.

“Normally we don’t post things like this, but since there are stories circulating, we would like to set the record straight and give the facts,” the post read. “Stealing is ALWAYS wrong. But it is incredibly sad when it is done by somebody that is trying to be a part of our local fishing community.” 

The News-Review left a voicemail at Big Al’s Bait and Tackle, but did not receive a response prior to press time. A Freedom of Information Law request to the Southampton Town Police Department seeking the full police report of Mr. Falussy’s arrest was denied, with the department stating that releasing the report would “interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings.”

“The subject [Mr. Falussy] was processed and released on an appearance ticket,” a Southampton Police Department press release stated.

Bryce Poyer, an Aquebogue resident and the owner of White Water Outfitters, explained in a recent interview that Mr. Falussy entered White Water Outfitters and made a purchase.

“Some people said, in his defense, ‘oh he walked out holding a reel in his hand,’ he did actually perform a normal retail transaction,” Mr. Poyer said. “But in the process of doing that — and it’s very, very clear — he did take that Accurate BV2-600, which is a tuna jigging reel. It’s in a custom color, it has a serial number, we have the empty box with the matching serial number.”

The reel retails for $669.

Following the incident, the staff at White Water Outfitters have taken various new measures to prevent something like this from happening again, including keeping a careful eye on items in the store — even when the customer is an industry peer.

“The one thing that I have to drill into my employees’ heads is: No matter who the person is and no matter who you think they are, whether they’re a family member, the president of the fishing club, whether they’re a wholesale customer, make sure that when you take the reels out of the glass cabinets and you put them on the counter to display … don’t walk away,” Mr. Poyer said. “Don’t let [the customer] say, ‘Okay, now that I picked the reel, let’s go look at some rods.’ Before you go look at the rods, the other reels have to go away. And that sucks, because it kind of slows the whole pace of the transaction down, but at the end of the day that’s unfortunately kind of the world we live in at this point.”