WEST ISLIP - The wife of the man who stole three boa constrictors from a West Islip pet shop has apologized for her husband's actions, and says he wasn't in his right state of mind when he took them.

Brian Schmieder, 54, has admitted that he went into Repxotica on Dec. 6 and stuffed three albino boas in his pockets before leaving the store. He has since pleaded guilty to petty larceny.

Workers at the shop say Schmieder had been in the store before and asked questions about the pricey reptiles, which go for about $400 each.

Florence Schmieder says her husband loves animals and stole the snakes as a Christmas gift for their grandsons. She says she had no idea the snakes were being kept in a furnace room in their home until police showed up and arrested her husband last Wednesday.

The snakes were returned to the store a few days ago by Florence Schmieder, who apologized for her husband's actions. "He wasn't in his right state of mind," she said. "He's having some mental issues."

Repxotica workers say the store has added locks to certain snake cages and has installed additional security cameras since the incident.

Schmieder's wife says he will serve three years probation for the theft.