Stolen rescue tortoise returned to Bayou Wildlife Zoo

ALVIN, Texas (KTRK) -- A 6-year-old tortoise reported stolen by zoo owners is back at home after a one-day sojourn with thieves.

The reptile, named Sheldon, was found in a box by the entrance of the Bayou Wildlife Zoo in Alvin around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday by maintenance workers.

Surveillance video from the zoo Sunday showed a man and a teenage boy grab Sheldon through a fence while a woman kept lookout during business hours.

"We're trying to give them a chance, just to do what's right, before we press charges," zoo owner Dana King said on Monday.

The zoo, a family operation owned by King and her parents, had opened the tortoise enclosure for the first time on Sunday, the day Sheldon was taken.

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"They brought them in, we had them maybe 10 minutes, and according to the cameras, there was a group that put their hand under the fence and took one of them," King recalled.

The King family purchased the 88-acre zoo with more than 200 animals in March.

"We bought it, had it a week, and then COVID-19 happened," King said.

They were shut down for more than two months.

King held off on releasing the surveillance video to police and offered the group a chance to return Sheldon, which appears to have worked.

The video above is from the original report when Sheldon was stolen.

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