By Thomas Tracy
These guys are criminals with a tough shell.
Cops cuffed two men they say were stealing 200 horseshoe crabs from a Jamaica Bay island Monday night.
An NYPD helicopter crew conducting night-vision exercises spotted four men taking the sword-tailed creatures from the shoreline of a small island known as the Ruffle Bar and throwing them into two 35-foot motor boats anchored nearby about 10 p.m.
For the next 40 minutes, cops trailed one of the Carolina skiffs to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
They caught suspects Robert Wolter, 28, and Joseph Knauer, 33, both of Brooklyn, loading the crabs into a large plastic tub on Emmons Ave., police said.
Cops handed Wolter and Knauer over to the U.S. Parks Police, who charged them with taking wildlife without a permit and disturbing wildlife breeding practices.
The two men in the second boat were still at large Tuesday.
It was unclear why Wolter and Knauer were collecting the creatures, which can reach 2 feet in length and weigh up to 10 pounds. Photos.