Alligator babies at the Australian Reptile Park. A 20cm baby alligator was among the animals stolen from the park in July.
Three men have been charged over a brazen break-in at a New South Wales reptile park earlier this year, but a baby alligator stolen during the raid, plus many lizards and snakes, have still not been found.
Thieves broke into the Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast on July 15 and stole 23 animals during a night raid.
The alligator is yet to be found.
There were concerns following the theft that some of the animals would not survive, and that the creatures were destined for sale on the black market.
Smashed enclosures in the room thieves broke in to at the Australian Reptile Park in July. Photo: Brockwell Perks BDP
On Friday detectives arrested three men in a car park near a boat ramp at Brooklyn on the Central Coast, following investigations by police from the Brisbane Water Local Area Command.
Police were able to recover two Solomon Island skinks which had been stolen during the raid, which have now been returned to the reptile park.
‘‘It will be alleged the men were in the process of selling the reptiles for $5,000 each,’’ NSW police said in a statement.
However, no other reptiles stolen during the raid have been located.
"The alligator is yet to be found," said a police spokeswoman.
The Australian Reptile Park's operations manager Tim Faulkner said the two returned reptiles were in poor health.
“The skinks are in poor health right now; they were returned to us suffering malnutrition and dehydration."
"Their body temperature was cold and one had sustained some burns. We are hoping that with the appropriate medical treatment and care, they will recover."
But he said staff held "grave fears" for the safety of the other reptiles.
Three young men, from Berala, Chester Hill and Lidcombe, have been charged in relation to the incident.
One of them, aged 18, has been charged with receiving stolen property and was refused bail to appear at Gosford Local Court on Saturday, according to police.
The other two, both aged 19, were granted conditional bail to appear at Gosford Local Court on October 22.
Police are still urging anyone with knowledge of the raid or the location of the other reptiles to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.