A South Elgin pet store is hoping for the return of a baby sugar glider taken from the store at the end of last week.
Diana Reed, an employee of Critters Pet Shop, 566 Randall Road, said the incident occurred either Thursday evening or Friday morning.
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"I did not work that day," she said. "But from everything that I have heard, they're thinking that the cage was left unlocked. Someone had to have known that we had babies that really couldn't defend themselves and they took one."
The incident happened while a worker was changing the animal's food, she said.
"That's the only time that cage is unlocked," she said.
There were two babies, she said. The other one is doing fine.
Sugar gliders, which are marsupials native to Australia, are like little flying squirrels, Reed said. They have a flap of skin that connects the front and back legs that enable them to glide.
"We looked everywhere for this thing. And they don't leave mom's side. They stay very close to mom," she said. "They're good parents. They keep their kids close."
The parents, she said, were surrendered to the store years ago. They are a bonded pair and have been together their entire lives.
The missing sugar glider is the size of a hamster, she said.
"This one was very young. It is only like 2 months old," she said. "I don't know who would reach their hand into a sugar glider pouch and steal a baby."
The store is concerned because the baby has not been weaned and will not survive if it is separated from its mother.
"It still needs her milk. Bottom line, it's going to die without its mom," Reed said.
If you have any information about the theft, call the pet shop at (630) 584-0200.