Burglars raid two pet stores

Baltimore County police are unsure if the thefts of animals are linked

May 09, 2002|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

Thieves have stolen dozens of exotic fish and animals - including a 35-year-old talking African gray parrot - worth more than $30,000 from two Baltimore County pet shops during the past two weeks, police said yesterday.

Investigators are trying to determine if the two burglaries are connected. In both cases, thieves entered the store at night and removed thousands of dollars worth of animals.

The most recent theft occurred Saturday night at the Sea Breeze Pet Center in the 1700 block of York Road in Timonium.

Cpl. Vickie Warehime, a police spokeswoman, said burglars pried open the front door and stole at least 25 turtles, several snakes and exotic fish. Six parrots, including Chism, the 35-year-old bird, also were taken.

Robert Ford, the store owner, said Chism is a prized pet that he has owned for 22 years.

"Whether he has been here at the store or at my house, he has always been there," Ford said, noting Chism is unique because he meows like a cat.

Ford estimated $25,000 worth of animals was stolen from his store.

The first burglary occurred April 25 when someone entered Afishionado in the 6100 block of Kenwood Ave. in Rosedale. The thieves stole about 10 snakes and a dozen turtles, valued at more than $5,000.

The intruders also ransacked the store - smashing fish tanks and setting a dozen snakes loose in the store. When Baltimore County police arrived to investigate, they had to dodge snakes that were falling from the rafters, Warehime said.

Warehime said little evidence links the two burglaries except that similar items were stolen.

Eric Jones, a manager at Afishionado, said he thinks the thieves will try to sell the animals over the Internet.

"I can't see them filling up their houses with what they took," Jones said.

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