Stolen turtles returned to Fla. sanctuary

May 12, 2012 at 3:29 PM

DAVIE, Fla., May 12 (UPI) -- Two turtles stolen from the Davie Wildlife Center in Florida were returned anonymously five days later in good condition, wildlife officials said.

Officials with the center believe Zippy, an orange and brown Eastern box turtle, and Florida, a Florida box turtle, were stolen by two rowdy teenagers who had threatened to kill the animals May 5, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Friday. When workers returned to the center May 6, Zippy and Florida were gone.

The sanctuary's receptionist received a phone call Friday from what sounded like an older man, who said, "Your two turtles are in a blue pillowcase underneath the sign in your overflow parking lot."

Laura Wyatt, the center's wildlife curator, said she was concerned about Zippy's condition because his bottom shell is permanently cracked and held together by zip ties.

"His shell is very, very fragile," Wyatt said. "He's an animal that should not be picked up.

"They will definitely be getting an absolutely wonderful dinner tonight," Wyatt said. "They will get a nice big salad with all kinds of fish and worms on it."

Davie Police Capt. Dale Engle said authorities are searching for the teens, who, if found, could face charges of grand theft and burglary.

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