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Would-be thief tries to steal shark from Gumbo Limbo Nature Center

Bottlehead shark found with hook in jaw

A fishing hook was found in the jaw of this bottlehead shark at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. (Gumbo Limbo Nature Center)

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Police are investigating an attempted shark theft from a Boca Raton nature facility.

An aquarist who works at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center told Boca Raton police he discovered a bottlenose shark had a fishing hook in its jaw Saturday morning.

According to the police report, there was also a fishing net found in the tank that houses the shark and another net tangled with a manifold.

Nothing was taken and there was no evidence that the roll-up doors were pried open. The entrance gate was found open Saturday morning, but it wasn't known if that was related to the attempted theft.

The aquarist who made the discovery told police he believes the would-be shark thief may have hopped the fence.

Stefanie Ouellette, manager of the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, told Local10.com that the hook fell out on its own Wednesday. She said the shark was behaving normally and didn't appear to be affected by it, but her staff continues to monitor it closely.

Ouellette said she didn't think the incident was an inside job. She said all the employees there are "dedicated to our mission" and the thought never crossed her mind.

Boca Raton police spokeswoman Sandra Boonenberg told Local10.com there were security cameras, but the video was poor quality and didn't capture the culprit.

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