Three people have been captured on surveillance video stealing a 0,4-metre horn shark from an aquarium in San Antonio, wrapping it in a wet blanket to disguise it as a baby then then pushing it out of the the building in a pram.
The less than one year-old female shark, nicknamed Miss Helen, was netted by one of the supects from an interactive tank in the aquarium where visitors are allowed to touch the fish in it.
An official from the aquarium smelt a rat and followed the trio to the parking lot where the “baby” was being loaded into a red pick-up van but the thieves rode off before they could be questioned.
After police located the truck and information about the heist, including video footage, was broadcast by news media, tip-offs directed them to a house near where the truck was parked.
A police spokesman said the good news was that the house where the shark was kept was filled with water tanks containing marine life including other sharks, so Miss Helen was kept alive.
“The bad part,” the spokesman said is that the suspect whose house it was “is gonna go to jail because he wanted this shark more than he needed it.”
At least one suspect has been taken into custody but more arrests are expected to follow.
Meantime, 48 hours after being stolen, Miss Helen was returned to the aquarium where she is being kept in quarantine and monitored before being returned to her tank.
The motive for the heist is not yet clear. According to reports a new online posting offers an “alive and well” horn shark for sale at $300 but it is not yet clear whether the advert is linked to the heist.