NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Many rare and valuable insects have been reported missing from the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion.
"We found that the majority 80 to 90 percent of the creatures that we had in the museum were taken," says Insectarium CEO John Cambridge. "Any types of exotic tarantula, scorpions, millipedes. We specialize in the arthropods of the world and we use those to tell the story of biodiversity, etc."
Both Cambridge and Philadelphia police believe it was an inside job. Cambridge has three former employees of the Northeast Philadelphia facility that he suspects played a role in the robbery.
"We were just astonished that someone would take permanent creatures that they probably don't know how to take care of, and then also just leave us with empty tanks," said Cambridge.
He says they left an unmistakable calling card of two jerseys stabbed into a wall with knives.
"The jerseys were stabbed into the wall with a knife and yeah we found ourselves robbed so we felt hurt," said Cambridge.
Police say the stolen insects and some reptiles are worth up to $50,000 and may be out crawling around our area.
"These animals are ours. They are like part of the family you know? And they just get taken away and now we don't know who has them or if they're keeping them or if they're selling them or what they're doing with these animals. But it's kind of a scary world out there," said insectarium staff member Trisha Nichols.
"Give them back! How about that? Just give them back," said Cambridge.