93°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Suspect who stole shark worried about Miss Helen’s well-being

SAN ANTONIO — The man accused of swiping a shark from a Texas aquarium says he did so because he was concerned about the sea creature’s well being.

Anthony Shannon is charged with felony theft for stealing the horn shark Saturday from the San Antonio Aquarium. The heist, which was captured on surveillance video, shows a man grabbing the 16-inch-long shark from a petting tank and later wheeling it away in a baby stroller. The shark, named Miss Helen, was recovered Monday night from Shannon’s home.

“I’m an activist, not a criminal,” Shannon told San Antonio TV station KENS in an interview from his home, which has three saltwater tanks filled with dozens of fish and five sharks.

Shannon said he’s a lifelong marine enthusiast and that he became concerned about conditions at the aquarium after a friend told him that marine animals were dying frequently. About a month ago, Shannon posed as a salt distributor so he could investigate conditions and take water samples from the tanks, he said.

The aquarium said in a statement that employees had no reason to doubt that Shannon was a salt distributor until after the theft, when a worker recognized him.

“We do daily tests of our water throughout the aquarium and show that everything is within normal parameters on the day Helen went missing,” the aquarium said in a statement.

Shannon said he took the shark from the petting tank after he saw a guest squeeze it.

“It’s regretful to do something like that, but if it’s an emergency for an animal, then no, it’s not,” Shannon said.

The aquarium said its animals are well cared for and that Miss Helen is on the mend after the caper.

“We appreciate all of the love and support everyone has shown for Helen and invite everyone to come see her when she’s back on exhibit,” the statement said.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
China says it won’t rule out using force to reunify Taiwan

BEIJING — China says it will not “renounce the use of force” in efforts to reunify Taiwan with the mainland and vows to take all necessary military measures to defeat “separatists.”

Man pleads guilty in brutal 1998 killing of Montana teen

Miranda Fenner’s slaying drew national attention, but grew to frustrate investigators who stuck with the case despite years of no progress.

Sheriff accused of scamming church, food bank pleads guilty

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A former Alabama sheriff accused of scamming a food bank and church and pocketing leftover money meant for feeding inmates pleaded guilty Tuesday to two of nine federal charges lodged against him.