RECOVERED! Rare African tortoise, worth $4,000, returned to its owner

KENOSHA (WITI) -- Kenosha police say a rare African tortoise -- stolen in Kenosha, has been recovered and returned to its owner.

Police say just before 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 10th, the tortoise was dropped off at a Kenosha pet store. Police say they are treating this as a theft case.

The 40-pound, eight-year-old African Sucata Tortoise with a tan shell went missing last weekend.

Ernesto De Armas has four of the African Sucata Tortoises. He has his own rescue in his backyard. Each tortoise now owned by De Armas was surrendered or abandoned. He and his wife now care for them.


"They might have an apartment and then they get bigger and they don't know what to do with it and some people just forget about them you know?" De Armas said.

Last weekend, one of the four tortoises went missing. De Armas says he had just finished mowing the lawn when he decided to let the tortoise, named "Quartet" graze on some grass.

"I said, you know what? I was cutting the grass. I said, let me open the gate and let them go out there and eat a little grass outside," De Armas said.

When De Armas came back to collect the tortoises, he only counted three. That's when he said he noticed a car cruising by.

"I saw a brown car and it was parked over there and all of a sudden he stopped at the corner, at the stop sign and he looked at me and I looked at him and he turned the corner," De Armas said.

De Armas said he hadn't seen the car or his smallest tortoise since.

"It takes a lot of dedication to take care of these tortoises. These are like my kids," De Armas said.

Kenosha police have confirmed with FOX6 News that the stolen tortoise has been recovered.