Thieves Make off with Thousands of Live Cockroaches and Spiders From US Museum
The thieves cleaned out more than 80 per cent of the museum's collection, which is reportedly worth $40,000.
Nearly 7,000 critters, including rare cockroaches, tarantulas, millipedes, frogs, snakes, spiders and lizards have been stolen from the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion in the United States. John Cambridge, the museum’s owner and chief executive, said he first noticed the insects missing from their enclosures and then discovered that boxes used for storing the off-display animals in a backroom were all empty.
Security footage of the museum shows three uniformed employees carrying insects out of the building in boxes over several days in late August. "We know exactly who did this. They snuck out the back with all these boxes. We caught them on camera," Cambridge told CNN. "They took all the stuff and then they didn't show up for their shifts. These insects are very easy to sell. The enthusiast market is quite strong — exotic pet shows and that kind of thing," he added.
The thieves cleaned out more than 80 per cent of the museum's collection, which is reportedly worth $40,000 (Rs 29 lakh) and includes endangered species and others like the six-eyed sand spider, which have life-threatening venomous bites.
Out of the thousands stolen, around a dozen were recovered from one of the suspect's homes, but so far no arrests have been made.
Insectarium, which just opened last year, has now closed its second and third floors as it attempts to rebuild its collection. It has also olaunched a GoFundMe to replace the stolen collection. Other collectors and institutions are donating to the museum in the wake of the crime.