Ipswich: Calmer chameleon - missing lizard has a new home

His story had the whole town talking, but now a missing chameleon has been found safe and well and is today starting a life with new owners.

The rare panther chameleon – with the surprisingly ordinary name of Dave – caused something of a stir when he was stolen in a daring late night burglary from specialist pet shop Suffolk Reptiles.

Burglars smashed through a window at the Nacton Road shop on August 5 and made a beeline for the Madagascan lizard, worth �185, ripping through the mesh tank that was holding him and escaping with their valuable prey.

But thanks to a peculiar twist of fate, the nine-month-old lizard was found by a nearby resident and returned to the shop, where his celebrity status has already landed him a new owner.

Hero of the hour Liam Bagley, 24, said: “I got a phone call from a friend saying there was a lizard for sale so I went round there but I saw it was all grey, meaning he wasn’t very happy.

“My mum’s got some bearded dragons [a type of lizard] so I knew they needed heating because they’re cold-blooded.

“I was worried for the animal so I took it home. I wasn’t really planning to keep it but I was just going to find someone who would care for it.”

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Liam, who lives in Gorse Road, near Gainsborough, went to the store, which is just yards from his home, for some advice on what to do with the chameleon until he could find a new owner.

But as he started explaining what had happened to shop director Phil Green, the pair suddenly realised the stolen lizard had been found.

Phil, 59, said: “Liam came over and he caught us just before we were due to close. He said to us straight away that he had just released a lizard and he needed some advice on how to look after him because he was worried about his welfare, so then we got talking.

“It’s quite a rare beast, especially in this area, and when I got Liam to bring him in, I knew it was the one we had lost.”

Police are investigating the burglary and have collected forensic evidence from the tank in which the chameleon was being housed.

Since returning to the store, Dave has been sold and was due to be collected by his new owners yesterday.

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