‘Free the Fish Bandit’ Cries Ring Out After Teen Arrested for Taping Fish to ATMs, Cop Cars, and More

A 17-year-old in Utah was reportedly slapped with two misdemeanor counts of causing property damage.

A teen’s fishy antics have resulted in a juvenile criminal case and a slew of headlines. 

According to Fox 13, a 17-year-old Utah boy was arrested last month in connection to a bizarre prank around the Provost area. Officials say the teen, who has not been publicly identified, was responsible for taping fish to various surfaces between August and November of 2023, and documented the stunts on an anonymous Instagram page fish_bandit84.

“Live, laugh, tape fish on ATMs” the account bio reads “No fish were harmed in the process.”

The “Fish Bandit” is accused of using duct tape to secure fish—some dead and others alive, casting doubt on the "no fish were harmed" claim—to various ATMs, restroom doors, and even a police cruiser. As shown on Instagram, some of the pranks were purportedly executed outside Utah and the United States, including in cities like Phoenix; Guatemala City, Guatemala; Frankfurt, Germany; and Tokyo. 

How he managed to affix some of planet Earth's slipperiest creatures to plastic screens and other unaccommodating surfaces remains to be seen. Why he chose to put cigarettes in some of their mouths is just another layer to the mystery.

“We don’t do catch and release,” the suspect captioned a Sept. 1, 2023, video, which showed a bleeding carp taped to a cash machine.

It’s unclear if there was a political statement behind the stunts or if the teen was simply trying get a few laughs. Regardless, authorities launched a criminal investigation late last year after the cleanup began costing companies money.

It wasn’t long before law enforcement caught wind of the Fish Bandit’s Instagram and tracked the perpetrator down. The teen was ultimately charged with two misdemeanor counts of causing property damage.

The case has been referred to Utah’s Juvenile Justice and Youth Services.

Across the Instagram comments and on X, cries are ringing out to free the Fish Bandit.

FREE MY BOY (the fish bandit)

— jacks 🃏 (@Jacks_solis) January 25, 2024
Twitter: @Jacks_solis

FREE THE FISH BANDIT https://t.co/z8jn8oMKBd

— Anna Burleson (@AnnagatorB) January 19, 2024
Twitter: @AnnagatorB

Fish bandit!!! Yes dude 💀 We support the fish bandit in this household. https://t.co/HT4T4eIT2U pic.twitter.com/hsFFT7sYdF

— Shisui Uchiha (@ExtensionCordz) January 25, 2024
Twitter: @ExtensionCordz

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