AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Authorities are investigating a case in which someone illegally hauled 200 lobster traps from the Gulf of Maine and stole the lobsters.

A spokesman says the Maine Marine Patrol found that someone other than the registered license holders hauled the traps and took the lobsters near Jeffreys Ledge, about 30 miles off New Hampshire's coast.

The spokesman says the traps were returned empty to the ocean bottom.

Maine Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish calls the incident a serious violation with numerous victims.

The marine patrol spokesman says the theft constitutes a civil violation and the person or people responsible would face a fine and possibility of restitution.

Private nonprofit organization Maine Operation Game Thief is offering an $11,000 reward for information that helps authorities find out who hauled the traps.