Three thieves stole a shark from a Texas aquarium by removing it from a tank and disguising it as a baby in a pushchair.

Police appealed for information about two men and a woman caught on CCTV lifting it from a pool where visitors are allowed to stroke some species of fish.

The footage shows one of the men grabbing “Miss Helen”, a horn shark, by its tail before wrapping it in a wet blanket and placing it in a bucket in the child’s buggy.

A member of staff attempted to confront the group but was unable to stop the suspect.

The shark was stolen from San Antonio Aquarium
Image:
The shark was stolen from San Antonio Aquarium

Several tips from the public allowed police to identify the truck used to steal the animal and two people later confessed.

Police arrested a 38-year-old man, according to ABC News affiliate KSAT12.

Local police chief Joseph Salvaggio said his officers at first thought it was a hoax as the US has been celebrating “shark week”.

He told KSAT12: “When we first got the call, we thought it was kind of a hoax being that it was Shark Week last week, but it turns out someone actually went inside the aquarium there in Leon Valley and stole a horn shark.”

San Antonio Aquarium, from where the 18in-long shark was taken, feared it would be unable to survive.

The shark was loaded into a truck and driven away. Pic: San Antonio Aquarium
Image:
The shark was loaded into a truck and driven away. Pic: San Antonio Aquarium

But Miss Helen was safely recovered and taken back to the aquarium.

Mr Salvaggio said: “The individual obviously had some knowledge on how to deal with these types of animals… otherwise why take it?

“And when we got into the garage and into the house, it looked like almost a mockup of (the aquarium).

“He had a lot of different marine animals in the home. (He) very much knew what he was doing – kept that animal alive and was able to continue to see that animal thrive which was pretty shocking to all of us.”

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Police have impounded the truck used in the theft and said they expect to make more arrests.

Horn sharks are carnivores but their main diet is crustaceans, making them ideal to put in an open aquarium.