KABB
Now playing
01:08
Stolen shark returned to San Antonio aquarium
EEL
EV Nautilus
EEL
Now playing
00:56
Watch eel change shape right before your eyes
mauritius marine conservation _00005617.jpg
mauritius marine conservation _00005617.jpg
Now playing
02:40
Monitoring dolphins in Mauritius
Three members from the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Marine Animal Release Team cut the whale free from shark net
Nine News
Three members from the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Marine Animal Release Team cut the whale free from shark net
Now playing
00:47
Australian rescuers free whale from shark net
Female orca Wikie swims with her calf born by artificial insemination on April 19, 2011 at Marineland animal exhibition park in the French Riviera city of Antibes, southeastern France.
VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Female orca Wikie swims with her calf born by artificial insemination on April 19, 2011 at Marineland animal exhibition park in the French Riviera city of Antibes, southeastern France.
Now playing
01:24
Killer whale mimics human speech
400 pound fish caught with wrench pkg_00002609.jpg
WFTS
400 pound fish caught with wrench pkg_00002609.jpg
Now playing
01:24
Man catches 400-pound fish with a wrench
large great white shark caught fisherman pkg_00004514.jpg
WJCL
large great white shark caught fisherman pkg_00004514.jpg
Now playing
01:48
Fisherman: I caught a 2,500-pound shark with rod, reel
Millions of sea creatures pyrosomes washing up on oregon coast orig_00000000.jpg
Millions of sea creatures pyrosomes washing up on oregon coast orig_00000000.jpg
Now playing
01:02
Millions of creatures swarm Oregon Coast
Ghostly octopod casper discovery orig vstop dlewis_00000000.jpg
NOAA
Ghostly octopod casper discovery orig vstop dlewis_00000000.jpg
Now playing
00:48
Unknown 'ghostly' octopod discovered
rare seahorse found in california pkg_00010912.jpg
KCBS
rare seahorse found in california pkg_00010912.jpg
Now playing
01:24
Rare sea creature spotted in California waters
Sergey Sverdlov
Now playing
00:54
Close call with shark caught on camera
australia shark 10 foot 3 meter shark queensland pkg atkinson_00001612.jpg
australia shark 10 foot 3 meter shark queensland pkg atkinson_00001612.jpg
Now playing
01:30
10-foot shark caught near surfers in Australia
WPEC
Now playing
01:01
Thousands of sharks migrating off the Florida coast
endangered right whales spotted sebastian inlet florida _00002920.jpg
WESH
endangered right whales spotted sebastian inlet florida _00002920.jpg
Now playing
01:25
Rare endangered whales spotted in Florida inlet
Glenys Howse
Now playing
00:57
Rare 'walking' fish found
Taningia danae whiplash squid vstan orig jnd pkg_00000707.jpg
NOAA
Taningia danae whiplash squid vstan orig jnd pkg_00000707.jpg
Now playing
00:59
Rare deep-sea squid caught on camera
CNN —  

What began with a quick grab-and-go theft Saturday at the San Antonio Aquarium – the suspect leaving a trail of water drops as he hurried away with his dripping prize of a small but very much alive shark – ended Monday with the safe return of “Miss Helen” to her tank at the aquarium.

The 16-inch female horn shark was taken during a heist that aquarium officials said was no spur-of-the-moment, let’s-steal-a-shark thing.

“The suspects staked out the pool for more than an hour” to wait for the right moment, the aquarium said in a statement.

The search for the young female shark, known to aquarium staff as Miss Helen, led police Monday to the home of a man who maintains an extensive collection of marine life, according to the police chief of the San Antonio suburb where the aquarium is located.

“When we got into the garage and into the house it looked like almost a mock up of (the San Antonio Aquarium),” said Leon Valley Police Chief Joseph Salvaggio. “He knew very much what he was doing and kept that animal alive.”

How to defend yourself in a shark attack

The great shark heist

Surveillance video, which the aquarium posted on its Facebook page, caught the heist as it happened. Two men and a woman with a infant wandered through the facility with a baby stroller in tow. The trio is seen on the video hanging around the tank where visitors can feed the fish and reach in the water and pet various sea life.

"Miss Helen," a 16-inch horn shark, as she is returned to the San Antonio Aquarium following a theft.
KSAT
"Miss Helen," a 16-inch horn shark, as she is returned to the San Antonio Aquarium following a theft.

One of the men quickly bends over and pulls something from the tank, using a net that aquarium officials said he’d brought with him. The man then disappears out of camera range with his male companion following him as the woman walks around with the baby.

“After grabbing the shark they entered into one of our filter rooms where they poured (a) bucket of bleach solution that employees used for the disinfection of tools into our cold water exhibit filtration system, causing harm to other wildlife,” the aquarium statement said. The men put the shark in the bucket and stashed it on the stroller to make their getaway.

Best things to do in San Antonio

Fast-acting staff, realizing what had happened, were able to prevent the bleach from doing more damage.

And from there, the shark hunt was on.

“When we first got the call, we thought it was kind of a hoax, being that it was Shark Week last week,” Police Chief Salvaggio, referring to the Discovery Channel’s week of shark-related programming, told CNN affiliate KSAT.

Bringing Miss Helen home

On Monday night, police successfully rescued the shark and returned her to the aquarium. Staff applauded and cheered as Miss Helen made her homecoming.

Police don’t believe the shark was taken to sell but to be added to the suspect’s collection.

“It was something he wanted, he had one of these in the past,” said Salvaggio. “He had one that passed away.”

Staff members bring the stolen shark back to the San Antonio aqarium.
KSAT
Staff members bring the stolen shark back to the San Antonio aqarium.

One man has been charged with theft and charges for two other individuals are pending, according to Salvaggio.

Miss Helen is now being held in quarantine as staff tests the water she was held in and acclimates her back into the aquarium environment.

“I’m so so happy that we got her back and she appears very healthy,” Jamie Shank with the San Antonio Aquarium told KSAT as the shark arrived. “I can’t believe what she’s been through, she’s a little fighter. She’s a survivor.”