Tortoise stolen and returned twice from Albuquerque pet shop

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – All sorts of animals can be found inside the Desert Reef and Exotics shop along Eubank. From rabbits, and snakes, to all shapes and sizes of tortoises.

But one small tortoise being sold at the store has done a lot of traveling in his short life.

“He’s had a rough year so I’m probably just gonna end up keeping him,” said JT Daniels, owner of Desert Reef and Exotics.

The tortoise he’s referring to was stolen twice in the last two weeks.

“Husband, wife and a kid came in, and long story short, he reached in took it and I saw it a few days later,” said Daniels.

That was the first time, and he said it wasn’t long before the tortoise was back.

“He brought it back actually the next day, ” said Daniels.

But to his surprise, he saw another culprit on his surveillance video on February 17. A man with a young boy were seen by the tortoise tank trying to open the case. The two look around for a while. The man peeks around the corner, then it appears he directs the child to stand guard.

“Have him keep watch, while he steals,” said Daniels.

Moments later, the video shows his efforts were a success, and he placed the small tortoise in his pocket.

“It’s just upsetting that parents are doing that with their kids,” said Daniels.

He said he called the cops the first time, but the second time, the tortoise was already back before Daniels even knew it was gone. It was delivered in a box at the front door.

“The cops probably have a bit more important things to deal with than a tortoise heist,” said Daniels.

Regardless of whether the thieves are caught, Daniels said he’s glad his tortoise is finally safe and sound.