There are thousands and thousands of stolen bugs — including one of the world‘s most venomous spiders and several cockroach colonies — still missing from the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, in case you needed a reason to scream this weekend.
The thieves got away with $40,000 worth of insects and lizards on Wednesday. The insectarium estimates that the thieves stole about 7,000 animals in total, a whopping 80 to 90 percent of the insectarium‘s exhibits.
Police and insectarium staff think the heist might have been an inside job. Security footage showed people walking around the museum holding plastic boxes full of some missing insects, including giant African mantises, bumblebee millipedes, warty glowspot roaches, tarantulars, dwarf and tiger hissers, and leopard geckos. When the crime was reported, the New York Times , insectarium employees found two staff uniforms “stuck to the wall with knives.”
Whoever got away with the creepy crawlies knew what they were doing. The thief also stole the logs on record that documented each bug, which makes it even more difficult to figure out what was stolen.
To make it even worse, the Philly Voice reports that the thieves ran off with multiple cockroach colonies, which means that there are thousands of missing roaches somewhere in area.
On the plus side, the insectarium‘s Mexican Fire Leg Tarantula was found by police and returned!
Because some of the insects were confiscated at a port of entry, “taking those critters is literally tampering with evidence,” according to the insectarium‘s chief executive John Cambridge.
Three current or former staff members are suspects in the case, but the Philadelphia police haven‘t made any arrests yet.
Although the thieves face hefty prison sentences, Cambridge hopes they get off easy.
“They are young, and I really hope that this isn‘t something that follows them for the rest of their life,” Cambridge told the New York Times. “Everybody does dumb stuff when they‘re young.”