7,000 Insects, Spiders And Lizards Stolen From Philadelphia Museum
The same week that a fire swept through the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, destroying millions of priceless artifacts, the news broke that about 4,900 miles away in Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion had also lost about 90 percent of its collection.
But it wasn’t because of a fire, and it wasn’t historical treasures that are gone from this museum. Thieves stole 7,000 live arachnids, insects and lizards. It could be the largest live insect heist in history, according to the museum’s CEO, Dr. John Cambridge. He, as well as police, believe it was an inside job by current or former employees.
Footage from security cameras shows three people leaving the museum on Aug. 22 with containers that were presumably filled with the arthropods, which are estimated to be worth about $40,000. The thieves also stole the logs used to keep track of the insects. Staff uniforms had been “stabbed into the wall with knives,” the Associated Press reports.