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Old 09-27-04, 12:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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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

By NADIA MOHARIB, CALGARY SUN


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.

Greg
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Old 09-27-04, 12:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That's really sad. I don't understand how people can be that way. Poor little torties, hopefully they survive :/ Hopefully someone has some info that can lead to their return.
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Old 09-27-04, 12:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have to say, for being theives at least they researched and are actually buying stuff for the turtles. Interesting how they actually paid for one.

This after that GTP was stolen at the Spring show.
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Old 09-27-04, 01:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Wonder if it's feasible to have security measures such as checking of receipts for people leaving the building as such. There's seems to be no strict control over the entry and exit of the public at most shows. Maybe having two "checkers" at the exits to ensure all animals leaving the show are paid for may work. Having shirt tags for vendors would enable them easier passageway through this system too. Just offering some suggestions as it would suck if the potential of theft at shows turns away vendors from attending.
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Old 09-27-04, 02:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Vanan that is an awesome idea! Receipts would never hurt anyone. Or maybe a sticker system where stickers are put on a purchased animal or product and the doorman takes it off the item. They would be universal with some sort of TARAS logo on it or something? Or whatever show it would be. Then the theif couldn't renter and try to use the same receipt. It has crossed my mind that stealing from these shows is possible with much ease as some vendors have 4 or 5 tables. Henry Piorun had a huge selection and he could only be in one place at one time. Either way I hope these tortoises are returned and purchases at Pet stores for toirtose foods are monitored closely. I would have loved to see them running away with them and just clothes lined them. That would have been fun. Any discriptions of these guys or better yet, pictures from a security camera at Petland? It always tells us we are on camera at Petland so they have to have something.


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Old 09-27-04, 03:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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well at the Missisauga show alot of vendors had locking displays which sat across the whole table. once a snake was purchased they would unlock it and then put it into a rubber maid. I think this system is effective enough for a reptile expo.
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Old 09-27-04, 05:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Here is a picture of one of the babies I took at the show.

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Old 09-27-04, 05:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If I start gettin harrassed at the shows everytime I leave for receipts I would simply stop going to them. I do think theft is bull$#&@! but you cannot treat everyone like criminals because their is a couple of idiots out their who are to cheap to pay for the stuff they want. Infact it would make me so raging mad I would give the "checker" a peice of my mind.
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Old 09-27-04, 05:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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by the way those torts are gorgeous, I sure hope you get them back, and If you do, please do us all a favour and charge them, maybe they wont do it again
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Old 09-27-04, 05:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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There is a reward offered by Beth for the safe return of the tortoises. Hopefully they get an act of concience and return it safe and sound.


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Old 09-27-04, 05:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by concept3
If I start gettin harrassed at the shows everytime I leave for receipts I would simply stop going to them. I do think theft is bull$#&@! but you cannot treat everyone like criminals because their is a couple of idiots out their who are to cheap to pay for the stuff they want. Infact it would make me so raging mad I would give the "checker" a peice of my mind.
Sad. Ever been in a chain store before, like Sears or Walmart? You must be popular then with their staff eh? Security measures are in check everywhere we go. At least we're not installing security cams and mirrors. Yeesh!

Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the older TARAS shows have the sticker method to label purchases as legit? The NorthWest Captive Breeder's Expo in WA has checkers at the exits checking receipts. Not always but they do random checks on every other person.
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Old 09-27-04, 05:54 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I wonder if it's the same guys who swiped Henry's GTP at the Spring show.
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Old 09-27-04, 05:54 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I dont know what things are like where you live but I have never seen a checker at walmart or sears
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Old 09-27-04, 05:59 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by concept3
I dont know what things are like where you live but I have never seen a checker at walmart or sears
Look closer next time.
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Old 09-27-04, 06:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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As far as we know we think it was a couple of teenagers. I think they may have ditched it as the police caught up to them later that night, but didn't do anything and no tortoises were returned. We did do the sticker method way back when, but with out someone checking purchases at the door, it doesn'treally do anything. It will be discussed at the next meeting if there is anyhting we can do to combat the problem.

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