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Offbeat

Thieves steal US$40,000 in rare bugs and reptiles, emptying insectarium of 90 per cent of its exhibits

The exotic creatures are believed to have been stolen from the Philadelphia museum for resale

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 August, 2018, 12:07pm
UPDATED : Friday, 31 August, 2018, 12:07pm

Philadelphia police say current or former employees at an insectarium stole over US$40,000 worth of rare insects and reptiles.

Authorities say the suspects stole about 90 per cent of the animals at the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion on August 22 and possibly other days. Police say staff uniforms were found stabbed into a wall with knives.

Police are searching the three suspects’ homes for the animals but no arrests have been made. They say some of the insects, including a Mexican fireleg tarantula, have been returned.

Insectarium chief executive Dr John Cambridge believes the animals were stolen to be resold.

The organisation has started a fundraising campaign to help replace the missing insects. Insectarium officials say they hope to restock their collection in time for the Philadelphia Oddities Expo in November.