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- by Paul Vanwyck

NEW YORK – Police have taken a bite out of crime in the Big Apple by catching the crooks who allegedly stole the 'Serpent's Tooth'.

New York Detective Paul Surrest says the criminals were arrested and charged today after police executed  search warrants against a pair of employees who worked at the auction house where the tooth was to be sold.

"Two employees of Monstrous Auctions are in custody," he said in a news briefing, "and the 'Serpent's Tooth' has been recovered."

The 'Serpent's Tooth' was found in the Owen Sound harbor a few years ago by a local diver. It has gained notoriety because experts who have tested the tooth say it is no more than 70 years old, providing many with evidence that lake monsters really do exist.

The tooth was to be auctioned last week, but was stolen the night before in a plot straight out of a mediocre crime drama.

A security guard was drugged and slept through the heist. A stolen car was crashed into a hydro pole, knocking out power to the auction house and crippling the security system.

Then comes the plot twist.

"The car crash, the story about the guard being drugged, it was all just a distraction," Detective Surrest said. "At the end of the day they used their keys to unlock the door, walk in, and take the tooth."

Police allege that Anne Tiquities rammed the car into the hydro pole. Her accomplice, Gill Teaparty, had faked passing out. When he saw the power go out he got up and stole the tooth, hid it, and then returned to his post and sprawled out on the floor again.

"We suspected it was an inside job from the start," Detective Eva Dence said. "For anyone to successfully target a four inch long tooth in that place in the dark they would have had to have known where they were going. Let's just say I'm being generous when I describe the storage system at the auction house a haphazard."

"Anyway," Detective Surrest interrupted. "I followed the evidence at the crash site, which included blood left behind by the driver..."

"And I looked at the auction house evidence, including looking into what drugs might have been in Mr. Teaparty's blood. We had our lab compare his blood to that found in the car, and they were nearly identical."

Further testing revealed a surprise.

"It came down to the X and Y chromosomes," Detective Surrest said. "The driver of the car was Teaparty's twin sister."

Further investigation revealed that was Tiquities.

The siblings have been charged with a number of crimes, including two counts each of theft over $5000. They will appear in court again tomorrow.

*With files from Pat Fuller in New York


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