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Old 09-27-04, 12:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
Greg West
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Join Date: Oct-2002
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Age: 37
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2 Baby Hermanns Tortoises stolen at the end of the TARAS Fall Show

Mon, September 27, 2004
Police on tail of hot turtles
Teens sought after swipe


As quick as a bunny, the thief fled with two hot turtles. But last night, cops were on the tails of two teen suspects after a pair of rare Hermans tortoises were stolen from a reptile show on the Stampede grounds yesterday.

The rightful owners -- breeders from B.C. -- said cops had identified the teens, who went into a Petland store for tortoise supplies, and were hoping to track them down and get the rare reptiles back alive and well.

Kevan Wallbank said he will not pursue charges if the tortoises are returned unharmed.

He's even willing to give the teens back the $300 they spent on one they actually bought.

"I'm just kind of bummed out," Wallbank said.

Hermans tortoises, so rare they are rarely seen in pet shops, grow to dinner-plate size and can live up to 80 years.

But Wallbank fears the thieves dumped his toonie-sized tortoises which need an environment of about 27 C.

"They probably won't survive the night," he said.

Hours earlier, Wallbank's wife, Beth, was leaning down to get a receipt for a teenage boy who bought one of the rare, pricey tortoises at the Alberta Reptile and Amphibian Society show when his weasel buddy took the opportunity to swipe two more of the tiny animals.

Wallbank tried to catch the thief, but lost him in the crowd.

A woman at a nearby Petland exhibit, however, said she had chatted with the pair prior to the theft about tortoise care.

Petland fanned out to all its shops to keep an eagle-eye out for any customers looking for turtle supplies.

A short time later, two teens -- who are now suspects -- showed up at the Westhills store and police were on the case.

Reptile show organizer Greg West said thefts from the shows are a sad reality once or twice a year.

"It's too bad, but some people are not as honest as most," he said

Nothing has turned up, and the tortoises still have not been returned. If you have any information please call 285-0998.

It will be on the news this afternoon on CBC as well so its great the media attention that it is getting.

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