Two men posing as maintenance workers have stolen 400 koi fish from a pond in Herndon, Va., over the past month, authorities say.
The men visited a pond at a business park near 2411 Dulles Corner Park at least four times in June, scooping out fish with large nets and placing them in coolers.
When confronted by employees, the men claimed to be checking on the health of the fish, saying they were removing unhealthy ones from the pond.
"There's a lot involved to move them properly so you don't hurt them, you don't damage them," said Chris Reinhardt of Vienna Aquarium and Pets. "I mean, you could easily kill them in this heat."
The men visited the park on the weekends of June 8 and 9, and June 15 and 16, between 1 and 4 p.m. Police say the employees eventually realized the men were not who they said they were.
Reinhardt told News4's David Culver that the koi from the Herndon pond were likely worth about $200 each, based on photos -- which means the thieves could have gotten away with $80,000 worth of fish.
Koi can be priced anywhere from $7 to $50,000, depending on their size and rarity.
"They have to know what they're doing," Reinhardt said. "Or they really don't have a clue what they're doing."
Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact the Fair Oaks Police District at 703-591-0966.