FARMINGTON — Maine Operation Game Thief is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the apprehension or conviction of the person responsible for putting more than 24 buckets of dirty adult diapers in streams in Franklin County, Warden Dan Christianson said.

Wardens continue to follow up on tips they are receiving, he said.

The number of five-gallon, bright-orange buckets has climbed since last week when wardens reported finding 16 and a civilian found four.

With the ice melting and the water rising in the streams, the buckets are on the move, Christianson said.

They have been found in Temple Stream in West Farmington and Wilson Stream in Wilton over the past two months. Some have been found in the woods on Voter Hill Road in West Farmington and on a bridge abutment, according to Warden Kris MacCabe.

MacCabe has checked with The Home Depot stores in Augusta and Auburn to see whether they could determine who bought the buckets, which have the store labels on them, but it was impossible because each store sells more than 1,000 buckets each week, he said.

Wardens are concerned about the environmental effect of the waste and the chemicals in the diapers in the waterways. The two streams are stocked with fish by the state.

Anyone with information may call the Maine State Police Barracks in Augusta at 1-800-452-4664 and ask to speak to a warden, or call Maine Operation Game Thief or 1-800-253-7887, or submit a tip to its website at www.maineogt.org. The private, nonprofit organization works in cooperation with the Maine Warden Service.

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