Thousands of dollars worth of tropical fish stolen from restaurant returned


Live fish were stolen along with their plants and food in a baffling robbery at a family restaurant, before being returned later by police.

An entire tank of tropical fish was stolen from a restaurant in Canada. All the fish, the aquarium light, aquatic plants, and even the fish food were taken when a thief broke into the Beachburg Family Restaurant, an hour and a half northwest of Ottawa. An undisclosed amount of cash was also stolen. 

Subsequently, a 23-year-old man has been charged with breaking and entering, theft, and possession of property obtained by crime. He's scheduled to appear in court on the 3rd of June this year.

The owners have indicated that fish previously kept in the tank—discus cichlids, Symphysodon sp—were worth thousands of dollars and their value may have drawn unwanted attention. The restaurant has had tropical fish on display for thirty years, but according to CBC News, they no longer had those discus when the incident occurred. The other fish, equipment, decor, and food were taken regardless.

The empty fish tank at the Beachburg Restaurant where the tropical fish in the tank were stolen (Dylan Dyson/CTV News Ottawa)

Ontario Provincial Police said that the theft of tropical fish was certainly out of the ordinary. "I've been a police officer for 27 years and I've never encountered an incident where there was fish from an aquarium stolen." Const. Shawn Peever told CBC News. It's too early in the investigation to speculate why the fish were taken.

“I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. It’s crazy… They target the fish, it’s not about the money,” Lily Dan told the Ottawa Citizen. Other valuables at the restaurant like beer were left untouched.

“The people love the fish, the children love it,” said Dan.

On Friday afternoon, police executed a warrant at a residence in the Whitewater Region where they located the fish and arrested the suspect, before returning the fish to their owners.

The motive for the robbery still remains unclear.