Anthony Shannon says he knows it was "wrong" to steal an aquarium's shark, carted off in a baby stroller over the weekend, but the 38-year-old insists it was "an emergency." In an interview with KENS-TV, the self-described marine activist who keeps five sharks and dozens of fish in three saltwater tanks at his residence says he only took the juvenile horn shark from a petting tank at the San Antonio Aquarium because it "needed help" after a visitor squeezed it. "I knew it would gain a lot of strength being in a proper environment," he says, referring to a large tank in his garage. That's where police eventually found the 16-inch-long shark, resulting in a felony theft charge. But Shannon's deception—which he says was unknown to his wife and friend, also present—actually began much earlier.
A month ago, Shannon says he inspected the aquarium while posing as a salt distributor after a friend told him about frequent deaths of marine life housed there. The general manager says Shannon "stated that we may have been sold a bad batch of salts and he needed to do water quality testing to make sure we were not putting our animals in danger," adding that employees "had no reason to doubt his story until he was recognized" on surveillance video from Saturday. KSAT reports Shannon has eight prior arrests including vehicle theft. Still, "I'm an activist, not a criminal," he says, claiming he was shown dead animals while on his incognito mission. The manager describes animal deaths as an "unfortunate part of being in this business," however. "We take the best possible care of our animals throughout their lives, which unfortunately do end eventually." (More weird crimes stories.)