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Thieves steal prized turtles from Santa Ana reptile house

September 4, 2012 |  3:31 pm

Turtle thievesSanta Ana police are looking for the thieves who stole nearly a dozen prized turtles known for their distinctive and brightly colored shells.

The thieves entered a reptile supply business Sunday afternoon and slipped away with about 10 “Ornate Wood” turtles worth about $750, said Santa Ana Police Det. Dave Yettaw.

Investigators released pictures of a heavily tattooed suspect and his black pickup truck, which were captured on security surveillance video. 

The turtles, which are found in Mexico and Central America, can live for decades and have a variety of colors on their dark brown and black shells, including orange, green and yellow. 

Collectors say the shell of the "Ornate Wood" turtles resembles finely polished wood and are considered art pieces.

Anyone with information on the crime or suspect is asked to call the Santa Ana Police Department's investigations bureau.


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 --Andrew Blankstein 

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Photo: Image from surveillance tape of one of the accused thieves making off with turtles. Credit: Santa Ana Police Department