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Police Thieves stole over $40,000 in rare insects, reptiles

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

Authorities say the suspects stole about 90 percent of the animals at the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion on Aug. 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 organization 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.