Nearly 60 baby crocs stolen from NT wildlife park
FIFTY-NINE baby crocs have been stolen from Crocodylus Park, leaving police and the park's owner, Grahame Webb, stumped.
The bizarre case saw baby crocs measuring just 40-50cm taken from Professor Webb's breeding ponds in early May.
Police are investigating the case but have not been able to identify who stole the snappy reptiles.
Prof Webb said the loss of the crocs, which he had been breeding on behalf of someone as part of an experiment, had cost him between $15,000 and $20,000.
"It's a fundamental right to have some sort of respect for property." he said.
"Barbed wire doesn't stop anyone if they're serious.
"Are we supposed to put razor wire around everything, spend hundreds of thousands on CCTV or employ someone to sit there 24 hours a day?"
Over the years, the park has been hit by thieves many times with some brazen enough to cut holes through the chain fence to gain access.
Prof Webb believes the most recent thefts of baby crocs was done over several visits in a two-week period leading up to May 19 when the police report was made.
"All their food is monitored, and that's what we couldn't work out, the food was increasing in the other pens and the food consumption (in this pen) went up and then it stopped and it went up and then it stopped," he said.
Prof Webb said they then counted the crocs and found they were 59 short.
"They were last year's hatchlings, this was the group that was growing really fast," Prof Webb said.
He said the senseless theft had also ruined the experiment he was conducting on cage designs that reduced the likelihood of crocs attacking each other.
Prof Webb believes somebody in the community knows what happened to the crocs.
"It's cost us lots of money over the years, it's been hundreds and hundreds of crocs, somebody out there knows," he said.
"Sometimes it's been highly organised. I don't know, somebody must pay these kids for the crocs."
Police do not believe the theft of the crocs is part of an operation.
Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Originally published as Nearly 60 baby crocs stolen from NT wildlife park in mystery theft