(NewsReady.com) – Pet thieves are not uncommon across the United States. The exact number of animals stolen every year isn’t known, but it’s suspected to be in the millions. Generally, the thefts are of domesticated animals like dogs and cats. In a strange twist, authorities are investigating a series of fish thefts.
Police in Howard County, Maryland, are investigating after almost 100 koi fish were stolen from three people. A resident reported the first theft in February. Someone stole about 18 fish from a private residence. In March, another person reported the theft of about 50 fish. The next incident occurred sometime between February and April, and thieves got away with about 20 fish.
Steven Steurer told WUSA 9 that someone took his Japanese Koi fish from his backyard. He was left shaken by the theft, saying, “You feel so secure, and all of a sudden you’re vulnerable,” because someone was in his yard one night stealing from him.
Steurer discovered his fish were stolen after he went to check on them to see if they’d emerged from hibernation. In addition to the fish, he said thieves stole numerous frogs.
One of the other victims, Mary Helen Sprecher, said she doesn’t believe wildlife could have stolen so many large fish from the pond in one night. Further, she said her water feature is protected by security netting, and there was no evidence an animal chewed through it. “This leaves us with two-legged predators,” she said.
Koi fish can reach lengths of 3 feet and cost anywhere between $8 and $200,000 each. The price depends on what type a person buys. For instance, a large butterfly koi can exceed $600 for a single fish.
The thefts in Maryland aren’t the only ones to take place recently. In California, the San Jose Police Department is looking for suspects in the theft of approximately $4,000 worth of Koi fish from the Japanese Friendship Garden Park in May.
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