Cops: Man stuffed python in pants at pet store

Travis Treder, Pinellas County Jail booking photo

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — A man is facing theft charges after he tried to steal a snake from a pet store in St. Petersburg Monday.

Pinellas County deputies said Travis Treder went into Animal House Pet Center, located at 950 34th St. N, and put a baby python down his left front pocket.

Chaos erupted at the pet store as employees tried to stop him. “He’s been in twice before over the past nine months and we didn’t realize he stole anything until after the fact,” store owner Steve Silk said.

Surveillance video shows the suspect grab the snake from its enclosure and put it in his pants. Silk then confronts him.

“We waited on him for probably 15 minutes and then we went into the office to see what he was going to do, and sure enough, he targeted our higher-end snakes again,” Silk said. Silk also said Treder has stolen snakes and lizards on two separate occasions in the last nine months.

They’ve been on the lookout for him since. “This time we printed out pictures of him and put it behind our register,” Silk said.

Employees blocked the front entrance. A customer, who just so happened to be a security guard, jumped in to help.

The suspect is seen struggling, but they’re able to hold him down and zip tie him until authorities arrive.

Silk said the suspect is one snake he hopes to never see again. “Very frustrating and unfortunately that kind of seems to be the MO with what we see. It’s usually the same person,” he said.

Silk said he believes Treder may be selling the animals on Craigslist.

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