SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Dozens of valuable and exotic animals have been stolen from a wildlife sanctuary in Southwest Miami-Dade.

A worker at the We Care Wildlife Sanctuary, located near Southwest 154th Avenue and 212th Street said the burglary started with a fake ad posted on Craigslist.

Volunteer Cindy Robert said a fake Craigslist ad was posted a few days earlier about a sanctuary going out of business.

“Someone had posted on Craigslist that he was going out of business and that free animals to anybody, and if nobody’s home, they can just come in and take them,” said Robert.

That’s when someone came in and did just that.

The animals were stolen from the nonprofit between 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday.

The people who take care of the animals are worried what could happen to them. A total of seven lemurs, five marmosets, four monkeys, seven birds and 12 tortoises were stolen from the sanctuary.

“They unscrewed this bolt off of the actual mechanism that holds the fence together, ’cause they couldn’t cut the lock, I guess,” said a volunteer, “and then they cut all this out, and then they just pushed the fence out.”

The missing animals are valued at more than $53,000.

Volunteers said the animals were already stressed after a recent move to the new location. “Now somebody has come in and captured them, and it probably wasn’t easy,” Robert said, “so they’re probably very, very stressed now and that alone can kill them.”

They also said that some of the animals need special medication and care. The volunteers are now asking for the people who took them to bring them back for the sake of the animals.

“Please, just bring them back,” said Robert, “’cause they need to be safe and cared for properly.”

The owner of the animal sanctuary recently moved and did not have surveillance cameras installed.

If you have any information on this theft, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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