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Baby python caught on video being stolen is recovered

Posted at 5:38 PM, Jul 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 21:23:03-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) - A baby python caught on video being snatched from a reptile store in Escondido has been recovered.

Late Wednesday afternoon, police told 10news a break in case led them to a home in Escondido, where a woman spotted in surveillance video admitted to taking the snake and turned it over. The theft took place at LLL Reptile last Friday afternoon.

"Just shocking because of the way she did it," said District Mangaer Joe Alvarez.

Video shows her walking around the reptile shop for about ten minutes, before something catches her eye. On the video, she's seen staring down an employee before she appears to slide open the top of a tank and grab something. Another camera shows her walking right past the checkout counter. From the final camera angle, a yellow snake is seen squirming in her purse.

"Looks like the snake is making one last ditch effort to get away, you see her literally grab the snake and put it in her purse before she walks out," said Alvarez.

That snake is a baby yellow-colored, green tree python, about ten inches long.

"A lot of guys pour their heart and soul into caring for these animals, and someone comes and just rips it out. It hurts," said Alvarez.

Alvarez was concerned about the snake's welfare, because it requires high heat and humidity. The conditions are more important because of his young age, about three months old. Those worries dissipated when police stopped by the shop on Wednesday, snake in hand. Employees tell 10news the staff was "over the moon excited."

Police tell 10news the woman was wanted on 5 outstanding warrants, including at least one drug-related warrant. She was taken into custody.

Employees at LLL Reptile say the snake appears to be healthy and is doing well.