Police say man stole boa constrictor snakes over $5

Jason Philpot
Jason Philpot
Floyd Garner
Floyd Garner
Jeremy Mull
Jeremy Mull
Boa Constrictor (Source: Jason Philpot)
Boa Constrictor (Source: Jason Philpot)

By Maira Ansari - bio | email

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - A Jeffersonville man has been arrested and charged with burglary after police say he broke into a man's apartment and stole a snake - and it was caught on camera.

Jason Philpot lives at the Rose Hill Residences in Jeffersonville. On New Year's Eve, he noticed something was wrong when he came home.

"I don't know how he did it, but that's how he broke into the door," said Philpot.

The suspect came inside and Philpot says you can see the big bare spot in his apartment where the aquarium used to be. His two boa constrictors, Bonnie and Clyde,were gone.

"That's all I got left of it, flowers and rocks, that's all I got left of my snakes," said Philpot.

Floyd Garner lives in the same apartment building as Philpot. He says the building is generally quiet, but wonders why Philpot had snakes to begin with.

"It's kind of weird - we are only allowed fish and birds here," said Garner.

Philpot says he had a pretty good idea of who stole his snakes, so he asked to look at the apartment surveillance video.

"I called the manager and looked on the camera and it was him," said Philpot.

In the video, you can see a man with a gray hoodie trying to get in the building.

"We've had people that try to do that, but we've been told not to let them in," said Garner.

In the video, the man walks into Philpot's apartment hallway, then suspect walks out a short time later with his hands in his front hoodie pocket - that's where police say he may have hidden the snakes.

"You could see the coils of the snake in the shirt," said Philpot.

"He must have been very familiar with snakes," said Garner. "I wouldn't have done that."

Philpot says the only person who knew about the snakes was the man who sold them to him: 39-year-old Jason Bunnell. Police arrested Bunnell later that day, and say he admitted to snatching the snakes.

According to court documents, Bunnell sent Philpot a text message saying: "If you don't give me my $25 today we are at war."

"Mr. Bunnell told police he took the snake because he wanted to teach Mr. Philpot a lesson," said Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull.

Philpot says he paid Bunnell $20 and doesn't understand why his friend would steal his snakes over $5.

"People do crazy stuff," said Philpot.

"Now, it's gonna cost him $505 to get out," said Garner.

Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull charged Bunnell with burglary. Bunnell is expected in court Thursday.

Philpot says he was able to get one of his snakes back - but since he isn't allowed to have pets in his apartment, he gave it to his brother. Philpot doesn't know what happened to the other snake.

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