KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The owner of a Kissimmee exotic pet store said she is holding onto hope after someone broke into her business and stole dozens of birds and two monkeys.
Hilda Matthew said the break-in happened late Thursday night at her store, HSL Animal Paradise. She said the suspect broke a hole in the back of the business and then disconnected the security cameras.
“It was just a huge hole in the wall that they broke and they came through there,” Matthews said.
But before the cameras were disconnected, one camera captured video showing someone breaking into the back room. Matthews said she didn’t realize what happened until Friday morning when she opened the store.
“[I] started looking around. Birds had been missing. I was shocked,” she said.
In total, Matthews said 50 birds and two monkeys were stolen. Kissimmee police estimated the exotic animals are worth $60,000.
Exotic Animal Burglary
But for Matthews, they are priceless.
“I’m very heartbroken. This is not only my business, this is animals that we truly care for,” she said. “This is animal cruelty. This is something that should not happen. Animals were taken the wrong way, feathers were all over the place. They left a dead bird. This is just heartbreaking. It’s sad, it’s hard.”
Kissimmee police confirmed they are investigating the theft.
Matthews posted photos of the stolen animals on the store’s Facebook page. She’s hoping people will share it and is asking everyone to keep an eye out for her stolen birds and monkeys. She said she’s also in contact with other pet stores across the state.
“There is a potential bird that appeared in Miami, so this is something that could happen in the next couple of days. People are going to start bringing in these birds, these animals and say, ‘I’d like to rehome this bird,’ so be on the lookout,” Matthews said.
She’s hoping with the community’s help we can get results together.
“I have hope. I have faith, something has to pop up. Either these people, my birds, my monkeys, something has to pop up,” she said.
Anyone with information on the stolen exotic animals is asked to call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.