Video shows reptile theft at Fresno's Discovery Center

March 28, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police are looking for a man who was caught on surveillance video at the Fresno Discovery Center. The video shows him smash through a window and take four expensive reptiles and electronics from the non-profit.

The overnight break-in began in a split second, with a cinderblock shattering a window. The crime lasted for more than 20 minutes. In the video you see the man almost immediately head toward the reptile room. He smashes the glass on the tanks, even going so far as to tear apart the enclosures to pull several pythons off the branches.

Next, he breaks another tank. He is seen pulling Zuu Zuu, a Savannah Monitor lizard out over the shards of glass by her tail. Then, he tries to shove Zuu Zuu into a backpack with the pythons.

"Throwing them all in on top of each other, in real life they would never be anywhere near each other," said Mary Ellen Wright. "I don't know who's bitten who. Who's killed who, or who's died of stress.

The good news is Wright knows Zuu Zuu is alive and well. Fresno Police found the lizard several blocks away. Neighbors say they found it near their apartment. Zuu Zuu was returned to the center and placed in a temporary cage.

"All these tanks have to be replaced," Wright said. "We just had our grand opening on Saturday. Even if we get the animals back... Please, god let us get the animals back. We don't have anything to put them in."

Now the center has to clean up the broken glass in the reptile room. They say replacing the tanks will cost several thousand dollars, money they just don't have.

In the video you can see the man's face as he walks by the camera. He also raided the gift shop and took office equipment.

The center will remain open, but the reptile exhibit will be off limits.


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