Brazen thieves steal 400 ornamental koi fish from Va. ponds - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Brazen thieves steal 400 ornamental koi fish from Va. ponds

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Police say fish similar to those pictured were stolen from the Herndon area. (Wikipedia/Public Domain) Police say fish similar to those pictured were stolen from the Herndon area. (Wikipedia/Public Domain)
PHOTO/ John Henrehan FOX 5 PHOTO/ John Henrehan FOX 5
HERNDON, Va. -

Two men who came back on four different occasions earlier this month managed to steal almost every fish from two ponds at the Dulles Corner Office Park in Northern Virginia, according to police.

About 400 fish were taken by the thieves, who passed themselves off as maintenance workers.

The fish were ornamental koi, which can grow up to two feet in length. Merchants on the internet are currently selling 14-inch-long koi at prices ranging from $175 to $550 per fish. Bigger koi fetch even higher prices.

Police say a pair of men in work clothes showed up on four successive weekend afternoons in June carrying big fish nets and coolers. They started taking the koi out of the ponds at the office and hotel park, which is near Dulles International Airport.

The thieves were questioned by employees of the complex, according to a source familiar with the case. But the bad guys were very clever. They picked up a fish, and they pointed to various features on it, saying, "Ah, this ... is an indication of disease. We're going to have to take out all of the sick fish."

It seemed plausible, so they were left alone.

The thieves got almost every single koi from the ponds, probably at least $80,000 worth of fish.

There are only a few of the ornamental fish left. A manager at the complex said during a pond renovation several years ago, 416 of the hardy fish were counted.

Security cameras caught part of the fish heist, but a source familiar with the case says the camera was too far away to read a license plate.

There is not much of a suspect description. Police are looking for two middle-aged white men, probably in their 50s. One suspect is overweight and stands about 5'5". Both men wore sunglasses during the four-day heist.

Police in Fairfax County, Va., are investigating the case.


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