Sept. 6 (UPI) -- The identity of a mystery thief responsible for eating $3,800 worth of plants from an Australian nursery was revealed when the culprit, a koala, gorged himself too much to flee.
Humphrey Herington of the Eastern Forest Nursery in the Lismore area of New South Wales said staff first noticed plants going missing a few months ago, and they initially suspected some escaped goats or local possums were behind the thefts.
"There weren't really any signs - there was no tracks or anything -- to indicate what it could have been," Herington told the BBC. "It was a mystery."
He said the mystery was finally solved when workers arrived to find the thief, a koala, had overeaten.
"I guess that day he must have had a really big feed and was too tired to go back to his tree," Herington said.
The World Wildlife Fund, which supports the nursery, shared a photo of the koala, dubbed Claude.
"All fun aside, this uncommon behavior shows that food sources are scarce, as koalas are not regular guests at the nursery," WWF Australia said in an Instagram post.
Many of the seedlings stolen by Claude were actually destined for koala food and habitat restoration initiatives, the group said.
Herington said he wrapped Claude in a towel and moved him to a nearby tree. He said some koala-proof fencing is being installed to protect the plants.