Report: Employee purposely shut off tank's life support systems at SC Aquarium

Report: Employee purposely shut off tank's life support systems at SC Aquarium

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston Police Department is investigating after an employee allegedly purposely shut off the life support systems of a tank at the SC Aquarium.

Last Wednesday, Charleston police received information regarding an animal cruelty violation that happened at the SC Aquarium.

According to a police report, between July 9 to July 14 a temporary employee was purposely shutting off the life support systems that control the Great Ocean Tank which holds fish commonly found offshore.

Police say a report from the aquarium states that on July 10 at 1:45 p.m., a technician received a notice from another technician that one of the three Great Ocean Tank sand filters was down and not working.

Later in that afternoon, they received another alarm activation with identical symptoms that was coming from a pump for the tank.

"Upon investigation of the incidents, they found that one of the electrical breakers was in the OFF position (not tripped but manually manipulated) which caused a relay to be blown due to breaker manipulation," a CPD report states.

On July 13, life support personnel received more alarms, three in total, with the same symptoms. The facilities electrician searched for electrical issues that would cause the problems but were unable to rule everything out except for manual manipulation.

On July 14, the facilities team again noticed that five of the panel breakers were in the OFF position. The breakers were turned back on without any damage to any aquatic life or permanent damage to any system.

According to police, the facilities staff placed a GoPro camera in the panel room and within an hour they observed the offender turning off one of the panel breakers as he walked through the room.

Officials with the SC Aquarium said the employee was provided to the facility through a temporary staffing agency, and not a full-time employee.

Aquarium spokesperson Kate Dittloff said no animals were harmed in the incidents.

No arrests have been made, according to CPD investigators.

Charleston police is investigating.

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