HOLTSVILLE, Long Island — Suffolk County Police are investigating the theft of a wolf from a Long Island animal preserve, police said Monday.
The exhibit holding Nakita, a 7-year-old hybrid wolf, continued to draw in a good crowd at The Town of Brookhaven Ecology Site, Park and Animal Preserve Monday afternoon, despite now being empty.
An employee of the site noticed the enclosure was missing its main attraction Monday morning, forcing the closure of the park until 1 p.m.
“She was really fun to look at and either sleep or roam around a little bit. We were shocked. We rushed out here to see everything,” said Philip Hearst, 14, of Mount Sinai. He said he had been coming to the park since he was a toddler.
Police believe the wolf was stolen sometime between 4 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday morning and whoever is responsible appeared to know exactly what they were doing, cutting through several fences to gain entry to Nakita.
The facility is home to more than 100 animals. Some are rescued, others are injured wildlife and still others are domesticated animals who became unmanageable for owners.
Nakita was surrendered by a Ronkonkoma family in August 2017. Signs around her enclosure state that, domesticated or not, she's still a wild animal who can bite or scratch.
Suffolk county SPCA is offering $5000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction. Police are asking anyone with any information to call CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-800-220 TIPS.