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HOLMBERG: On the trail of tarantulas stolen from creepy, crawly store

Posted at 11:38 PM, Feb 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-11 23:59:13-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va (WTVR)-  So how do you track King Baboon tarantulas that were mysteriously stolen Sunday a week ago from an up-and-coming Lakeside business that specializes in creepy crawly critters?

“This is one of the three King Baboons,” said Aaron Reinhard as he displayed a large, brown and somewhat poisonous tarantula inside Beasts & Bugs. “This is the only one that wasn’t stolen.”

Tarantulas don’t leave footprints to speak of. They’re super light, soft-footed, surviving by silently sneaking up on insects and tiny rodents and birds.

They’re long-lived, 30 years or more. And fragile. “It’s like a water balloon with legs,” Reinhard said.

“People always think tarantulas are these big, giant monsters,” said partner Monica Ramirez, holding her hands about two feet apart. “All it takes is a fall about that much and it’s dead.”

They’re also valuable and collectable. The stolen spiders are worth about $250 each.

They is a new business, already shipping online and getting ready to open its retail store. It’s not a place for anyone afraid of creepy, crawly bugs and reptiles. There are hundreds of critters, some rare, some blind,  many bred in captivity.

They’ve already had some visitors, checking out their inventory.

After a recent visit from two young men,  “I come back to my shop Monday morning and my back door is kicked in and two of my King Baboons are lifted.”

Since these critters don’t have drastically unique features, they won’t stand out on a missing spider poster, making them the bees knees for thieves.

So Aaron posted the theft on social media websites. It didn’t take long to track down the soft-footed baboons. A pet shop in Virginia Beach had bought them, Aaron explained.

Apparently, the mastermind behind the spider caper had left his thinking cap behind.

“They actually turned in one of these enclosures in with my (Arachnids RVA) sticker on it,” Aaron explained. The supposed perp also left some accurate personal information when he sold the spiders for $75 each, Aaron said.

A Henrico police spokeswoman said only that detectives are looking into the incident. But it’s Aaron’s understanding that the suspect will be interviewed later this week.