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Man charged with falsely claiming tortoise

April 4, 2013 at 1:53 PM

PHOENIX, April 4 (UPI) -- Phoenix police said they arrested a man on a theft charge after he allegedly falsely claimed ownership of a lost tortoise.

Officer James Holmes of the Phoenix Police Department said Trisha Walker returned home around noon Friday to find her 16-year-old tortoise, Jeeps, missing from the house, The Arizona Republic reported Thursday.

The 100-pound reptile had been found walking in the neighborhood by a nearby resident who brought Jeeps into her home for food and water. Holmes said the neighbor put up fliers around the neighborhood and received a response from Derek McKnight, 24, who claimed the animal was his escaped pet.

Holmes said McKnight was leaving the neighbor's home with the tortoise just as Walker approached the home to ask about her missing pet.

Police were able to locate McKnight's van about seven hours later and return Jeeps to Walker.

McKnight was arrested on a theft charge.

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