SCARBOROUGH – A California man who allegedly built a fire within a protected area of Higgins Beach has been summonsed for receiving property belonging to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

According to an IF&W press release, Game Wardens Jason Scott and Peter Herring were on an endangered species protection patrol at about 10:45 p.m. Thursday when they came upon 11 people camping inside a protected piping plover nesting area.

“Parties have been a problem here and have interfered with plover reproductively for several years,” said spokesman Corporal John MacDonald.

According to MacDonald, two people also were seen tampering with nearby enclosures erected by the IF&W.

“When the people observed the wardens, they quickly began to disperse into the darkness,” said MacDonald, noting that the wardens gave chase and “apprehended the subjects.”

Beside the camp fire, the wardens found a backpack belonging to one of the detainees, Mark Brazil, 18, of Studio City, Calif., described by MacDonald as a summer resident of the area.

Inside the backpack, the wardens found “several spring-loaded knives,” newspapers, a trail camera with IF&W markings on it, and a scanner turned on to frequencies used by Maine State Police and Scarborough police.

According to MacDonald, Brazil claimed to have “found the camera in the sand.” However, Warren Herring found on it pictures snapped automatically that allegedly showed Brazil “removing the camera from its position of surveillance on Higgins Beach.”

Brazil was summonsed for receiving stolen property and for building an unpermitted fire on a State Wildlife Management Area.

“The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has partnered with local officials, Scarborough Police Department, Maine Audubon, and the Higgins Beach association on this problem,” said MacDonald.

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