Florida man accused of stealing endangered tortoises, rare comics worth thousands

1 dead, 1 living tortoise found at Joshua McCarty-Thomas’ home, police say

Joshua McCarty-Thomas, 46, is accused of stealing two endangered tortoises, one alive in the yard and the other’s carcass in the freezer. (St. Petersburg Police Department)

A man was arrested Tuesday after police found stolen endangered tortoises and rare comics, both worth thousands, at his Florida home, according to the department.

Officers said they searched 46-year-old Joshua McCarty-Thomas’ St. Petersburg home, located at 2435 10th St. S, and found two tortoises, one alive in the yard and the other dead in the freezer.

The Galápagos tortoises, each worth about $10,000, were taken from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park on Nov. 30, 2022, according to stolen chips reported by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Once fully grown, these tortoises can reach up to 600 pounds and live up to 150 years, officers said.

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McCarty-Thomas also faces charges in connection to two commercial burglaries in St. Petersburg and Ocala, during which police said he stole thousands of dollars worth of rare books from Haslam’s Book Store on Dec. 16, 2022, and Lighthouse Books on Oct. 15, 2019.

According to officers, the suspect also has a warrant out for his arrest in connection with a third burglary of an Ocala store, from which he stole thousands of dollars worth of comics.

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About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.