The space in which a sound signaling brass bell typically hangs on this offshore buoy is empty after the bell was stolen, off the coast of Maine. Stealing a sound signaling device off a buoy is a federal offense and can be punishable with heavy fines or even imprisonment. Credit: U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard is offering a cash reward for information about the theft of 10 buoy bells in the past nine months, including one off Bailey Island in Harpswell.

The sound signaling devices from navigational devices also include nine bells stolen from Penobscot Bay, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Most recently, the 371-pound bell assembly from the White Bull Gong buoy, about two miles east of Bailey Island, was reported missing by a mariner.

The bells attached to the buoys help boaters safely navigate when visibility is reduced.

Tampering with navigation aids is a federal crime punishable by fines of up to $25,000 per day or up to one year in prison.

Anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprit is eligible to receive up to one-half the fine imposed.

The Coast Guard asks anyone with information about the missing bells to contact Coast Guard Sector Northern New England Command Center in South Portland at 767-0303.

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