California Man Arrested for Stealing Corals From Local Fish Store

Video shows man taking corals from two tanks in Glendale, CA store.

Written by
John Virata
The reef hobby can be very expensive, and one man from North Hollywood, Calif. obviously was in over his head in the hobby to resort to stealing corals from Tropical Imports, a local fish store in Glendale, Calif.


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The man went into the store to buy a $5 fish and when the employee went to get the fish, the man helped himself to not one, but two Australian Duncan coral polyps, (Duncanopsammia axifuga) placing them in his pocket and wiping his hand on his shirt. The crime was caught on the store’s video surveillance system. 

The owner of the store, Dean Inmon, told CBS News Los Angeles that after he discovered the two corals were gone, he went to the video, which showed the man grabbing the corals. Luckily, an employee at another store in Burbank, Calif. wrote down the license plate of the man after he is alleged to have stolen livestock there as well. 

With the license plate and the video, Los Angeles Police Department detectives arrested the man, Luis Argueta, 29. The detectives went to the man’s apartment and found a fish tank, but not the corals. Argueta said the corals had died.


John B. Virata has been keeping fish since he was 10 years old.  He currently keeps an 80 gallon cichlid tank, a 20 gallon freshwater community tank and a 29 gallon BioCube with an Percula clown, a huge blue green chromis, and a firefish all in his kitchen, and a 55 gallon FOWLR tank with a pair of Oscellaris clowns, two blue green chromis, a six line wrasse, a peppermint shrimp, assorted algae and a few aiptasia anemones in his living room. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata 

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Fish · Lifestyle