Pet shop owner using technology to catch thieves

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) –   He's the king of things that creep and crawl, and also helping catch criminals.

'This is real similar,' says James Brumley, owner of Exotic Amphibian Reptile Center.  'This is a ball python, real similar to the one that was taken.  These are real popular now and they run in price from anywhere from $20 up to $100,000.'

And when it comes to all things amphibian, James Brumley wants to help those interested.

'We work with people,' says Brumley.  'If you want a pet, we'll work with you on your budget.  You don't have to steal it.'

But that's exactly what authorities say Zachary Whitener did.

He's charged with stealing a $400 ball python.

This makes the third time someone has removed a reptile, and Brumley is big on justice and high definition surveillance cameras to help the police find the culprits.

'We'll have a couple of DVD's burned already and the person who witnessed it a description ready to be interviewed,' says Brumley.

Brumley caught this suspect trying to abscond with an alligator by sticking it in his cargo shorts.

'Stealing any animal, regardless of the value is a felony,' says Brumley.  'We will definitely prosecute it as a felony and demand restitution and we will stick with the courts throughout the whole process to make sure they do something about this.  These people won't get away with it.'

He's yet to recover his reptiles, but knows someone sticking a snake down their shorts could be in for a big surprise.

'Yeah they could surprise you,' says Brumley.  'That's the area you'd least want to be surprised.  Yeah that's right and it'd be immediate punishment for your crime too.'

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