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1 of 4 reptiles stolen from Calif. museum found

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- A Central California science museum has recovered one of four reptiles that were taken by a burglar who was caught on surveillance video shoving the lizard and three snakes into a garbage bag.

The 3 1/2-foot savannah monitor lizard was back at Fresno's Discovery Center on Friday after it was found nearby, the Fresno Bee reported (http://bit.ly/YP2I8r ).

The suspect broke into the museum on Wednesday night or Thursday morning, smashed the tanks that held the four reptiles and made off with them. In addition to the lizard, the burglar took a 7-foot-long boa constrictor and two 3-foot-long ball pythons.

Surveillance video showed the suspect putting the four reptiles — worth hundreds of dollars — into a garbage bag. The suspect also went into the center's gift shop and stole children's toys, the phone system and the security monitor, the Bee reported.

The center's director, Mary Ellen Wright, said she was worried about the animals' conditions because they are mortal enemies.

"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.

It wasn't immediately clear exactly where the monitor lizard was found, but a veterinarian is expected to examine the reptile to make sure it's OK.


Information from: The Fresno Bee, http://www.fresnobee.com