WATERFORD, Conn. • A Connecticut man purchased a 17-pound lobster at a Waterford restaurant, then released the crustacean back into Long Island Sound.
Don MacKenzie of Niantic tells The Day of New London he knew the lobster, nicknamed "Lucky Larry" by local children, would have to be about 80-years-old to reach his current size and felt it deserved to live.
"It takes seven years for him to even become a lobster big enough to keep," MacKenzie said. "For a lobster to live this long and avoid lobster traps, nets, lobster pots ... he doesn't deserve a bib and butter."
MacKenzie won't say how much he paid The Dock restaurant to take Larry off the menu Tuesday.
"Let's just say that it's the most expensive lobster I never ate." MacKenzie told the newspaper.
He took the lobster back to sea Tuesday, releasing it in a secret location, where he said it would be almost impossible for fishermen to drag their nets.
"They drag during the day, so if he does venture out of this area, hopefully it will be at night," said Steve Wilson, who works with MacKenzie at a local marina and helped him set Larry free.
MacKenzie received a send-off from a group of children chanting "Let Larry Live" and the lobster was given a salute from the Niantic River Bridge operator who sounded the lift bridge's siren as the boat carrying it headed to sea.
Mackenzie kept a memento of the experience, the two thick rubber bands that had been wrapped around Larry's claws to keep him from pinching anyone.