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7K Bugs, Spiders Taken in 'Unprecedented' Heist

The Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion apparently got robbed
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2018 10:00 AM CDT
A spider of the Hexophthalma genus, which includes six-eyed sand spiders.   (Wikimedia Commons)
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(Newser) – See a warty glowspot roach or six-eyed sand spider crawling around Philly? Consider calling the police, because those little creatures may be among 7,000 snakes, frogs, scorpions, spiders, millipedes, and bugs apparently stolen from the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion late last month, Vice reports. Museum owner John Cambridge says two employees conducted the heist over a few days, taking more than $40,000 worth of lizards and insects. "I'm not sure there's ever been a larger live-insect heist," Cambridge tells CNN. "Our insurance doesn't cover this. Why would they? This is unprecedented."

According to Cambridge, security footage shows the two workers sneaking the creatures out and packing them into a parked car. Before fleeing, the pair stabbed their uniforms into a wall using kitchen knives. Police have found the suspects, searched their homes, and returned a few creatures—including a colorful Mexican fireleg tarantula—but the highly venomous six-eyed sand spider is among many kidnapped critters still missing, the New York Times reports. Cambridge says the thieves likely want to sell them to enthusiasts. Meanwhile, the museum has shut down two floors and opened a GoFundMe page to help it restock. Despite losing 80% of its collection, the Insectarium plans to reopen on Nov. 3 with an "Oddities Expo." (Read more insects stories.)

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