The Los Angeles Police Department is asking the public for help to find four thieves who took a baby sea lion from its mother.
Police say that the suspects were seen taking a baby sea lion from Dockweiler State Beach in Playa Del Rey early Sunday morning at around 3 a.m.
"When officers arrived they met with a witness who observed two male suspects and two female suspects harassing and taunting two baby sea lions at Dockweiler Beach," the police statement read. "The suspects were seen taking one baby sea lion, entered a vehicle and fled from the location with the baby sea lion."
The suspects attempted to capture the second sea lion pup, but it put up a fight and got away, ABC station in Los Angeles KABC reported.
The car is described as a "dark," two-door Honda Civic with a California license plate ending in 56.
"The suspects are described as two male Hispanics and two female Hispanics" between the ages of 20 and 25 years old, the police statement read.
The Marine Animal Rescue rescued the second baby sea lion, the police said.
Peter Wallerstein, director of Marine Animal Rescue, told KABC that seals are being stolen more often this year because of the record number of pups turning up sick along the Southern California coastlines.
The LAPD is "initiating a cruelty to animal criminal investigation" and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is investigating, because the baby sea lion is a protected species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The police encourage anyone with information to contact Pacific Station at (310) 482-6334, 1-877-LAPD-24-7 or visit LAPDOonline.org.