LEMAY, Mo. – St. Louis County police are searching for a man who was caught on camera stealing cash and an animal from a pet store in Lemay.

The owner of Exotic Amphibian Reptile Center said a thief broke into the store around 4:30 a.m. Thursday.

“Somebody broke in through our back door of our building and took a large Argentine black and white tegu and a large cage and emptied out the cash register and also the tip jar we have up here for our employees,” said James Brumley, the owner.

Brumley said he’s working with the St. Louis County Police Department in turning over surveillance video of the burglary.

“He was armed and had what looked to be a semi-automatic pistol with a large clip,” Brumley said.

Sings posted inside the shop on the 300 block of Lemay Ferry Road stated that the theft of an animal is a felony in Missouri. The missing lizard is worth more than $300, about the same size as the tegu.

“They’re similar to a monitor lizard and get about four foot or so. They usually have a good disposition and are a popular hobby,” Brumley said. “I mean, there are businesses nowadays because of the increase in shoplifting and theft that are going out of business or relocating. Hopefully, we won’t have to do something that drastic.”

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact St. Louis County Police Department.