A kidnapped horn shark named Ms. Helen captured the nation’s attention after she was stolen from the San Antonio Aquarium Monday. But this fish tale has a happy ending — Ms. Helen is safely back at home.
Two suspects, including a 38-year-old San Antonio man, have been arrested in connection with the shark theft after the San Antonio Aquarium released security footage of three suspects wrapping the small horn shark in a blanket and wheeling it out of the facility in a baby stroller, in the full light of day Saturday.
Video of the aqua-themed heist was released by the aquarium on Monday.
Ms. Helen is part of a pool exhibit at the aquarium that allows patrons to pet the more docile sharks. Surveillance video shows one man reach into the pool, wrap the 1-year-old shark in a wet blanket and put her in a stroller.
An aquarium employee followed the trio into the parking lot and tried to detain them, but one of them pointed to the stroller and told the employee that his son was sick and he had to leave immediately, WOAI reported.
Tips from the public flooded into the Leon Valley Police Department throughout the day Monday, according to the San Antonio Express-News. That led police to a truck belonging to one of the suspects.
When police confronted the 38-year-old man - who was identified Tuesday as Anthony Shannon - he admitted to his part in the shark heist, KSAT reported, and led investigators to his personal aquarium, where Ms. Helen was found unharmed.
“More than likely it was something that he wanted,” Leon Valley Police Chief Joseph Salvaggio said during a news conference Monday. “When the suspect came home, he gave us consent to go in the house. He took us right to where the shark was and pointed [her] out. Initially they were going to show us an old receipt for this type of shark, but it was obviously doctored and the gig was up.”
Police are working under the assumption that the man wanted to keep the shark as a pet, Salvaggio added.
Ms. Helen is about a foot and a half in length. According to KSAT, she was apparently in good health when she was returned to the aquarium at about 9 p.m. Horn sharks grow to be about three feet in length and are bottom-feeders native to the North American Pacific, according to Sharksider.
The other two suspects in this case - a man and a woman - have not yet been identified by authorities. More arrests are expected in the case, though, police told KENS.
Salvaggio said in the press conference that police are working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to find if any federal laws may have been broken in the bizarre aqua-heist.
“[He] very much knew what he was doing,” Salvaggio said, “Kept that animal alive and was able to continue to see that animal thrive, which was pretty shocking to all of us.”