Police: Woman stole rare butterfly from Krohn Conservatory

Police: Woman stole rare butterfly from Krohn Conservatory

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Police are searching for a woman who is accused of stealing a butterfly from a local facility.

According to police, the theft took place Sunday at the Krohn Conservatory on Eden Park Drive.

Investigators said the woman stole a rare Blue Morpho African Butterfly from the exhibit around 5 p.m. and was caught on camera doing it.

"It's ludicrous. It doesn't makes sense," Bob Nuhn, a retired Hamilton County Park District Ranger, said. "People are going to wonder, 'seriously? Someone is actually doing that?'"

Video footage shows the woman stepping in and out of the exhibit. It also shows an employee confronting the woman and attempting to stop her from leaving, but the woman was able to get away.

Police have not said how the woman was able to take off with the butterfly.

Biologists and insect experts describe the particular species as beautiful and bright and say the blue-winged creatures are something to be treasured and admired.

"[The wings] are so blue that airplane pilots record seeing it from miles away," Nathan Morehouse, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Cincinnati, said. "They're large. They're really pretty."

What motivated the woman to reportedly commit the crime remains a mystery.

"People do turn them into jewelry," Morehouse said. "People put them into frames on walls, and you can buy them that way."

Morehouse said the Blue Morpho Butterfly is exotic and thrives in tropical temperatures. He also said there are federal regulations in place to prevent them from living outside of their natural habitats or outside of proper exhibits.

"There are a couple of reasons," Morehouse said. "One is that they might actually be able to establish populations here, but the other is that they might carry diseases with them that would affect our local butterflies."

The winged creatures' life span isn't long, but researchers said the little lives they do have are educational and inspirational.

"Krohn puts the butterflies there for public education, for people to get an appreciation of different facets of nature," Nuhn said.

The Krohn Conservatory holds a special butterfly show every year. 2018's show was titled "The Butterfly of Madagascar."

They have said the show celebrates the exotic biomes of the African country known as the "Island of Rainbows."

The show is open seven days from 10 a.m to 5 p.m.

Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call Crimestoppers at 513-352-3040.

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