South San Francisco Man Who Stole Fish to Buy Crack Gets Rehab

Categories: Law & Order
Those crackers are like crack!
Byron Bates, a South San Francisco seafood deliveryman who stole $10,000 worth of fish to acquire $400 worth of crack, has dodged prison and instead was sentenced to rehab, a San Mateo Superior Court judge ruled today.

His three-year prison sentence will be suspended as long as he enters a drug treatment program, since his  crime was non-violent and "driven by addiction," the judge explained.

That theft, perhaps the first ever to establish a fish-to-crack exchange rate, was brazen, if not quite on par with Bubbles from The Wire dropping a fishing line from the top of a roof to reel in the ziplock bag of smack hidden in a pile of tires behind the dope boy. 

On Oct. 14, 2011, Bates was supposed to deliver a truckload of fish to Newport Fish Company customers in the Sacramento area, but the fish never arrived. Instead, Bates later told police, he traded the product for $400 worth of crack cocaine, which likely netted him more than four grams of rock.

Authorities located the abandoned truck four days later. Most of the fish was gone -- and the few remaining slabs of meat had rotted.

In May, Bates pleaded guilty to auto theft, and the prosecutors agreed to drop embezzlement charges.

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