Koi Fish Stolen In Virginia: Two Men Disguised As Maintenance Workers Steal 400 Japanese Carp Worth As Much As $52K [REPORT]

By Philip Ross on July 1, 2013 3:08 PM EDT

koi fish
Koi fish, stolen from an office park in Virginia, could be worth tens of thousands of dollars. (Photo: Reuters)

Koi fish, stolen from an office park in Virginia, could be worth a whopping $52,000 should the thieves successfully find a buyer for the fish. The two men who heisted the koi fish disguised themselves as maintenance workers and said they were removing the unhealthy fish and leaving behind the healthy ones.

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Washington Post reports that the two men, dressed in khakis and white shirts, showed up at the Dulles Corner Office Park in early June, said they were there to tend to the koi pond, and even handed out business cards. They claimed to be part of an aquatic-care company taking care of sick koi fish.

The two men, both in their 50s, reportedly made four visits to the office park koi fish pond and removed the fish with large nets. They then packed the koi into coolers and hauled them away. Finally, security personnel mentioned the two men to the property managers, who were unfamiliar with any sort of koi fish maintenance.

"We thought, 'Wait a minute. No one was hired to look at the fish,' " one employee at the office park told Washington Post. "We were stunned. We were shocked. Who steals these kind of fish?"

Someone with dollar signs in their eyes, that's who - at roughly $130 a pop for one foot-long koi fish, it's a valuable heist. ABC News reports that even small koi sell for $10 each; koi fish that are 3 feet long or more can go for thousands of dollars.

Whether the koi fish stolen in Virginia were bought for $10 a fish or $130, the worth of the thieves' bounty exceeds the state's $200 limit to qualify as grand larceny. Grand larceny carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Koi comes from the Japanese word for "carp," which are a large group of fish originally found in Central Europe and Asia. Koi with the distinct, bright coloration and patterning are ornamental and are used for decorative purposes in outdoor koi ponds and water gardens.

According to the Olympic Koi Club, several centuries of selective breeding between the common brown Asian carp and the German carp produced the color mutations of the brightly colored koi. Koi come in a variety of colors, including pure white, yellow, orange, red, blue, lavender, green and coal black.

Koi fish are so prized that collectors will even shell out as much as $25,000 for a championship fish.

Read more from iScience Times:

$4M In Jewelry Stolen: How Did Robbers Get Away With Huge Connecticut Heist?

5 Tons Of Nutella Stolen; 27 Million Calories Worth Lifted in $20,000 Heist

Police Officer Left To Die; Ryan Russell Killed By Raving Lunatic Driving Stolen Snowplow

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