Beach Poachers Sue We Didn't Steal Anything It's The Media's Fault!

9/24/2014 4:33 PM PDT

Two women caught in a viral video allegedly trying to steal beach equipment are now suing ... lamenting they've been dragged through the muddy sand by the media.

The video, which scored more than 7 million hits on YouTube, turned middle-aged sisters Kathleen Duffy and Linda Duffy Kelly into viral and infamous superstars.

The women claim in a new lawsuit ... Fox News painted them as thieves. One anchor called it an "attempted theft." Some of the other comments ... "caught stealing" and "caught red handed."

The sisters insist they thought the canopy was theirs ... there were lots that looked just like it on July 4th on Smyrna Beach in Florida. They were confronted by the owner ... who filmed the whole thing.

We called Fox ... so far no word back.