It might have been worse -- the alleged thieves could have stolen a tiger and it could have belonged to Mike Tyson.
In what the Internet is roundly calling a real-life version of the movie The Hangover, three friends allegedly admit to breaking into Sea World Australia, swimming with the dolphins and stealing a penguin, according to 7News.
The three friends sent footage of the penguin to the TV station, hoping to prove they meant the animal no harm during what they insist was a drunk prank gone too far.
An ABC News blog explains that, upon waking up with a penguin in their midst, one of the friends allegedly panicked and dropped the bird off at a "nearby waterway known to have sharks," according to police.
The Telegraph reports that a couple found the penguin after he had been scared out of the water (possibly by a shark) and chased by a dog.
"He was extremely disheveled, he was quite exhausted last night after we did catch him but ... he's settled down well," a Sea World spokesperson told The Telegraph.
The men face charges of trespassing, stealing and unlawfully keeping a protected animal.
One of the suspected thieves expressed contrition for what he'd done.
“Yeah I wouldn't go stealing any animals," Rhys Jones told News3. "It's not the brightest thing to do.”