A horn shark was allegedly stolen from a tank at an aquarium by three people who managed to disguise it as a baby in a stroller.
The shark was taken from the San Antonio Aquarium in Texas on Saturday when two men and a woman allegedly grabbed the shark with their own net, according to a statement shared on the aquarium’s Facebook page.
“The 16-inch-long horn shark was stolen from our tide pool exhibit while the attendant was assisting other guests. The suspects staked out the pool for more than an hour to wait for this opportunity,” the statement alleges.
“After grabbing the shark they entered into one of our filter rooms where they poured the bucket of bleach solution that employees used for the disinfection of tools into our cold water exhibit filtration system, causing harm to other wildlife,” they wrote.
In surveillance footage shared by the aquarium, a man can be seen carrying the bucket with a blanket covering it, and then placing it under the stroller as he walked out alongside another man and a woman holding a baby.
In the video, an employee walks past the group and realizes something is amiss.
On Monday, the aquarium shared that the shark had been found and that staff was “en route to get the shark now!”
Leon Valley Police Chief Joseph Salvaggio told My San Antonio that one of the suspects, a man who has not been identified, was arrested for taking the female shark, named Helen.
Jamie Shank, the aquarium’s husbandry director, told the outlet Helen is less than a year old and was found in good condition.
The man, 38, was charged with theft between $750 and $2,500, police told the newspaper. Salvaggio told the outlet he expects to charge the other two suspects when they are found.
Salvaggio said the man had had a horn shark of his own but it had died.
“More than likely it was something that he wanted,” he said, adding the man had an aquarium in his home when police searched it.
“There were different marine animals,” Salvaggio said. “[He] very much knew what he was doing and kept that animal alive, and was able to continue seeing that animal thrive, which was pretty shocking.”
Jenny Spellman, the aquarium’s general manager, told NBC News she was in “absolute shock” over the theft.
“I couldn’t believe that somebody would do something like that,” she said.
Check out the surveillance video below.
The shark was stolen from an open tank at the aquarium where visitors are encouraged to touch sea creatures. Police tracked the suspects’ vehicle to a home and were able to obtain a confession. The shark was found alive following a two-day search. The suspects are facing felony theft charges ?? [?: @sanantonioaquarium/@buzzfeednews]