Bug Heist

Insectarium CEO Says $50,000 Bug Heist Was an Inside Job

So many were missing, they decided to check the back room where the insects were stored and they weren't there either. What's more, two employee uniforms were tacked to the wall with knives.

It all happened in the open, without any forcible entry to the facilities. Cambridge couldn't say for sure exactly how many specimens were taken, but it was 80 to 90 percent of the institution's collection, a figure representing thousands of creatures. "So the thing is with the insect colonies, an insectarium is going to be displaying a couple individuals of a particular species out on the floor," Cambridge said. "But in order to use them in a stable exhibit, we need to have colonies of them in the back." If one colony of roaches is stolen, that's thousands of roaches. "We had lots and lots and lots of colonies of cockroaches taken," he said.

Cambridge said the total value of the stolen creepers is estimated to be $50,000, but it's really difficult to put an exact number on it, especially in the cases of endangered species. "How do you characterize the value of a creature that you can not get again," he asked. That's one reason why he's so focused on recovering the stolen goods and less worried about legal proceedings. He said that police were able to bring back some of the insects that were found at one suspect's home, but the majority are still out there.

Cambridge says they believe that the crime was financially motivated, but they're also investigating whether it was an attempt to frame someone else along the way. "They are not difficult to sell, and there's a thriving market of insect enthusiasts," he told us. He's worried, at this point, they may already be in the hands of a buyer.

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