Stolen chameleon found dead in shallow grave

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Photo from The News-Gazette Photo from The News-Gazette
Cameron Cudney, 25 Cameron Cudney, 25

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) – Police found a missing chameleon several weeks after someone stole it from a pet store.

Security video recorded after 2 p.m. on March 16 showed a group of people entering Sailfin Pet Shop in Champaign. Moments later, someone took the animal out of its cage and put a blanket over it, then left the building.

The News-Gazette reports police believe Cameron Cudney, 25, was the person who took the chameleon.

The paper says a social media campaign involving the security video helped officers track the animal to Oakwood. They learned the two people Cudney went to the store with lived in that town.

Sgt. Dave Griffet says someone buried the animal in a shallow grave.

When police went to Oakland, The News-Gazette reports Cudney was already in custody for different crimes. He faces trial in Danville for three felony cases, including retail theft, car burglary and criminal damage to property charges dating back to 2017.

The newspaper says the chameleon, which had a retail value of $300, would net a felony charge if that’s what the Champaign County State’s Attorney decides to do.

Owners of Sailfin Pet Shop say they’ve changed security in the store to prevent future thefts from happening.

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