By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

One of Crescent Citys out-of-town fish-buyers has disappeared after apparently passing bad checks on the docks, according to local fishermen.

Canton Seafood of San Francisco is being investigated by the Del Norte County Sheriffs Department after several bad checks were forwarded to them from Victim Witness Advocates.

The Crescent City Police Department also received at least two reports last month.

I lost a little over $2,000, said Kriss Weasa of the fishing vessel Pisces. Its still a sore subject with me. It was terrible.

Bill Evans of the fishing vessel Nomad said hes glad he wasnt around the last time Canton was buying live fish at the docks.

I wasnt here when it happened this time, Evans said about the bad checks that circulated a month or two back. Some time ago, close to two years ago, he gave me a bad check for about $1,200. But he came back and made good on that.

Fisherman Kenyon Hensel said the situation is different now than it was a couple years ago because the whereabouts of the mysterious Mr. Lei, which the owner is known by, was known.

Local fishermen who have inquired about Lei in San Francisco and Los Angeles, where he has been known to live, have only come up with rumors as to his whereabouts.

Doug Garbidian, who is investigating the case for the sheriffs office, was not available for comment on Friday.

This sort of thing isnt unfamiliar to us, Hensel said. Goldmine Seafoods got away with $8,000 last (summer). We had gone to the police about that one, too.

At least once recently, harbor commissioners warned Canton not to bring its trucks on the docks to buy fish because it is against harbor district ordinances.