An Australian zoo has made an emotional plea to its Facebook followers to help them track down the person who made off with three beloved animals.
Jaws Junior, a freshwater crocodile, Tim Tam, a Stimpson's Python, and Zebra, a hatchling jungle python were all missing when staff at the Canberra Reptile Zoo arrived at work on Friday morning.
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Along with the animals, several other items were stolen including equipment needed to look after the animals and the office's register computer.
The zoo's security cameras captured footage of the thief at work and operators are now appealing to the public for leads on their identity.
"Approximately 6am this morning this heartless thief broke into the Reptile Zoo and stole several items including three of our much-loved animals," a post on the zoo's Facebook page read.
Managing director and founder of the zoo, Peter Child, told the-riotact.com the robbery seemed to be planned in advance, with the robber choosing their targets deliberately.
"The pythons were his intended target because after he broke in he went straight for them.
"He smashed their enclosure and picked them up in his hands and then came back and loaded up with all the products needed to keep the pythons."
Child added that while the zoo will be hit hard financially from the theft, it's the loss of the animals that has hurt the most.
"Each one of these animals has a name and each one was a pet to us. The crocodile has been here for a couple of years," he said. "The animals themselves would only cost $150 each so he hasn't stolen them because they are valuable but because he wants to keep them himself."