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$1,000 in reptiles stolen from Gainesville pet store
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Ken Neidenbach, owner, points to a tank Tuesday at Village Pets in Gainesville where snakes were stolen from his shop. Last week was not the first time Neidenbach has discovered theft of pets from his store. - photo by Erin O. Smith/The Times

GAINESVILLE -- Five reptiles — a lizard, three snakes and an iguana — worth roughly $1,000 were stolen from a Gainesville pet store last week.

Ken Neidenbach, owner of Village Pets on Browns Bridge Road, said the store was burgled between Friday night and Saturday morning.

“(The manager) happened to notice some sand on the floor,” the owner said.

In the back of the store, Neidenbach said three red-tailed boas, an iguana and a Savannah monitor were taken from their enclosures.

“They never touched the register,” the owner said. “They knew what they were going to steal.”

With a boa costing $250, Neidenbach estimated a $1,000 loss of reptiles. Neidenbach, who has been in the pet business since 1969, said he’s faced similar thefts countless times.

“I figure they probably sold them for drug money,” he said, adding that another reason might be selling to another pet store.

According to the Gainesville Police report, there was no forced entry into the pet store.

“The officer thought they had tried to jimmy the door, but they went ahead and picked the lock,” he said.

Weeks earlier, Neidenbach said two bearded dragons were stolen from his store. A sign in the store addressed the past theft.

“Whoever stole the two juvy bearded dragons I hope you enjoy them! You have to account to the same creator as me! So I hope you don’t have to burn in hell!,” the sign reads, with the last sentence highlighted.