The award for Most Outlandish Story of the Week must go to the trio who kidnapped (or should it be fish-napped) a live horn shark from an interactive petting pool using a bucket, a blanket, and a baby stroller. That being said, there have been some very strong contenders for the prize recently.
First, the shark in question – who is fantastically named Miss Helen – is alive and well, though presumably a little traumatized by the whole debacle. Now that that's settled, you might be wondering what exactly would provoke someone to abduct a small and vulnerable shark in the first place.
Police initially suspected it was a plot to add to the thieves' large collection of aquatic animals. Ammon Covino, who is the owner of San Antonio Aquarium, the site of the crime, also thought it may have had something to do with Shark Week (22-28 July). This is an annual event set up by the Discovery Channel to promote understanding of all things shark-related. And, just in case you are interested, there is even a Shark Week drinking game.
The actual reason, or rather the reason that was given by one of the perpetrators himself: To "rescue" the shark because it needed help.
The man, who was interviewed by the BBC, said he was an activist. He agreed that yes, taking the shark was wrong but "it needed help at that point in time". The point of the exercise was not for profit, he said, but to protect the health of the fish. (Important side note: taking a shark – or any other marine animal, for that matter – out of water is probably not the best way to go about doing that.)
He continued, saying he knew the police department would find him and the horn shark. In fact, he spoke to staff over the phone, telling them he would sign a consent form granting them access to his house. On July 30, Miss Helen was found by the San Antonio police force and taken back to the aquarium.
Would he do it again? Yes. Maybe. Sort of. The man said that if there is an animal that needs to be rescued, he is willing to help. However, he does draw the line at moving and capturing sharks like he did Miss Helen – and that is probably a good thing.
[H/T: BBC News]