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A ‘Heist’ That Never Happened? Inside Years of Strife at the Philadelphia Insectarium

Kimberly Paynter
The Philadelphia Insectarium & Butterfly Pavilion on Frankford Avenue in the Northeast section of the city.

When thousands of spiders, bugs and lizards disappeared from a Philadelphia Museum in 2018 - the story of the “insect heist” made national news — including a mention on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Then, a documentary dug deep into what really happened at the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, revealing that some former employees say there was never a heist.

The insectarium’s CEO disputes this. But this tangled story is far from over. WHYY's Alan Yu has been following this story and has an update.

(Original air-date: 8/9/22)

Alan was all set on majoring in biology, but then he realized he liked writing about science more than doing research, so he left Hong Kong and went to study journalism in the U.S. After interning at NPR and WBEZ in Chicago, he has never wanted to work anywhere outside of public radio. He covers space and all other kinds of innovation. He enjoys comic books, LEGO, and dragon boating.