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Thief breaks into California museum, swipes snakes

A 7-foot-long boa constrictor, two ball pythons and a monitor lizard were stolen from a Central California science museum by a man who was caught on camera throwing the reptiles into a plastic trash bag.

Workers at the Discovery Center in Fresno discovered the theft Thursday morning, the center's director, Mary Ellen Wright, told the Fresno Bee. The unidentified suspect apparently broke in overnight, smashing the tanks that held the reptiles.

Surveillance video showed the man putting four reptiles into a garbage bag: the red-tailed boa constrictor, two 3-foot-long pythons and a 3 1/2-foot savannah monitor lizard. The suspect also went into the center's gift shop and took children's toys, the phone system and the security monitor, the Bee reported.

Wright said the reptiles -- worth hundreds of dollars -- are mortal enemies, and she is worried about their conditions.

"It would be like throwing two pit bulls in a locked room," she said.

Wright said the animals also could injure the thief. The monitor lizard has sharp, 2-inch claws.

Police are looking at the video, according to the Bee. A call to a Fresno police spokesman Friday was not immediately returned.

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