The Day A Brooklyn Penguin Was Stolen

African Penguins at Coney Island Aquarium

African Penguins at Coney Island Aquarium

The Penguin Post has learned that on May 9, 1965 a bunch of teenagers made off with a penguin from the New York Aquarium in Coney Island and then took him for a ride on the subway.  Why would they steal a penguin, you ask?  They never really answered that question because the authorities never caught them, but the simple answer is most likely, why not?

The story goes like this: an MTA policeman was on routine patrol on the subway at Stillwell Avenue when he spots a group of teens hop on his subway car carrying a cardboard box. The kids spot the officer, and calmly leave the train at the next station, but leave the box with the penguin in it behind. The box begins to move getting the officers attention.

Being near the beach the policeman figures at first that it’s a seagull so he picks up the box to take it outside and release it.  Upon opening it and getting nipped  he notices this is not even close to being a seagull. It’s a penguin!

He then secures the box, assumes that this fugitive penguin has come from the aquarium and calls them to check.  Lo and behold the aquarium makes a penguin head count and they find they’re a penguin down, so the officer gets back on the train and a few stops later the penguin was returned safely.

BTW, a pilfered penguin incident happened again at the aquarium in 1967. After that the penguin exhibit was redesigned to keep the penguins in and people out.  The Penguin Post learned all this after stumbling across this fun New York Historical Society video.


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