A West Islip reptile store is hoping for the return of a ball python that was stolen Friday night.
Suffolk County police said the missing reptile was reported stolen on Monday after Repxotica’s owners noticed the snake was missing.
Martina Scheben, owner of Repxotica on Udall Road in West Islip, said she first noticed the baby ball python was missing while cleaning up the store on Monday morning.
It was a busy weekend and the store was short-staffed, she said.
“I started doing some clean up and going through the racks, and when I went through the snake racks, I noticed one of them was empty,” she said. “I asked the staff if we had sold it and came to the conclusion the answer was no.”
Scheben then checked the store’s surveillance cameras, which showed a man in a red T-shirt standing near the drawers that hold the snakes at about 5:40 p.m. on Friday night, she said.
In the video, the man removes the snake, which is worth about $400 and not dangerous, from the drawer and sticks it in his jacket pocket. He then interacts with a store employee and purchases several items before leaving the store with the snake.
Scheben said she hopes the snake will be returned, though the store has not been able to find the man. She said she believes he has been to the store before.
A similar theft happened two years ago, she added. Three snakes were removed from the store, but were returned 48 hours later.
“It’s not something that happens a lot because it’s a small store,” Scheben said. “I have eight cameras and we know most of our customers.”