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Galapagos tortoises stolen from St. Augustine Alligator Farm found; 1 dead in freezer

Another found alive in yard of St. Petersburg home; suspect arrested
Galapagos tortoise stolen from Alligator Farm in St. Augustine found in St. Petersburg yard
Posted at 11:29 AM, May 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-17 11:41:34-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Police said they have found two Galapagos tortoises that were stolen from the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine last year.

One tortoise was found alive in the yard of a home on the other side of the state, while the other was found dead in the freezer, St. Petersburg police said Wednesday.

Joshua McCarty-Thomas was arrested and faces charges in connection with the theft of the endangered tortoises last November.

Officers were able to verify the tortoises' microchips as those stolen from the Alligator Farm on Nov. 30.

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McCarty-Thomas is also accused of committing two burglaries in St. Petersburg. Police said he stole thousands of dollars' worth of rare books from two bookstores in 2019 and 2022.

There is also a warrant for his arrest in Ocala, where thousands of dollars' worth of comic books were stolen.

The tortoises were valued at about $10,000 each. When fully grown, the tortoises can weigh up to 600 pounds and live for more than 100 years.