Shark Stolen From Texas Aquarium by Thieves Who Disguised it as a Baby

A shark stolen from a Texas aquarium by three suspects who put it in a stroller and pretended it was a baby was found by police—and it is still alive.

Two men and a woman holding a baby were caught on surveillance cameras scooping the gray horn shark—called "Ms. Helen"—out of a tank at the San Antonio Aquarium, before wrapping it in a blanket and hiding it in the stroller. Having staked out the tank for about an hour, they left the building immediately after taking the shark.

The group was confronted by aquarium staff in the parking lot but drove off in their truck with the small shark, which is under a year old and around a foot in length. The footage was posted to Facebook by the aquarium.

"Security footage indicated that the suspects brought their own net to capture the horn shark," said a statement by the aquarium.

shark thieves
The shark thieves at San Antonio Aquarium in Texas were caught on surveillance camera. San Antonio Aquarium

"After grabbing the shark they entered into one of our filter rooms where they poured the bucket of bleach solution that employees used for the disinfection of tools into our cold water exhibit filtration system, causing harm to other wildlife.

"They then used the sanitation bucket to aide in transportation of the shark into the stroller and hurried up the stairs and out to the parking lot."

Police soon arrested the suspects after tracing the license plate but have not yet released their identities. They live in San Antonio. One suspect, a white male aged 38, is in custody.

Leon Valley Police Chief Joseph Salvaggio said the two male suspects confessed and that police would be speaking to the woman though he is not sure if they will charge her. Police are working with the agency NOAA on potential federal charges.

Salvaggio said all the suspects were being very complaint and he did not believe the plan was to sell the shark, thought to be worth around $2,000, though an advert was posted locally to Facebook attempting to sell a horn shark for $300. It is not known if the theft is related.

The shark is now safely back home in the aquarium. She was found in a tank and in good condition, though she will be kept in quarantine and under observation as a precaution. She will eventually be put back in her tank with the rest of the fish in the exhibition.

"Luckily the thief was somebody who knew what he was doing," Salvaggio told News4SA, adding that the main suspect had a lot of marine animals in his home. "Luckily for the aquarium we were able to get that shark back in one piece."

Aquarium staff said other fish in the tank were showing signs of stress after the theft.

"It's absolutely insane," aquarium owner Ammon Covino told USA Today. "They grabbed the shark right out of the tank."

According to Fish Base, horn sharks are a "sluggish, nocturnal, and mostly solitary species" who "inhabit rocky bottoms, kelp beds, sandy draws between rocks, on sand flats, deep crevices and small caves and also large underwater caverns."

They also "may bite back when harassed."

This article was updated to include a statement by the aquarium.