LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. - Four expensive tortoises were reported stolen from a Lehigh Acres home Thursday. One of them weighs 100 pounds and is valued at $1,000.
It happened at a home on Broadmoor Street. The owner, Jamie Hargett, is heartbroken. They may just look like tortoises. But to Hargett, "They're like my family."
She's been a reptile lover all her life, licensed to care for all sorts of cold-blooded creatures. She knows them each by name and personality.
"Hawk is a hundred-pound Sulcata," Hargett said. "He's huge. He likes to ram people just because he's crazy. Sasha, she's more shy than Hawk. She likes to hide. Fred and Wilma, they like to bury themselves. They don't like to be touched or bothered."
But, when she went outside Thursday, they were gone. No tracks. No open cages. No evidence of who could have taken them, and especially, how.
Hargett said she feels "like I lost one of my kids. Everyone in the neighborhood knows how I love my animals. Everybody knows."
These tortoises aren't cheap. Hawk alone is worth $1,000, making this a grand theft case. But, it's not about the price.
"Someone could offer me a million dollars for them and I wouldn't take it. I wouldn't," she said.
Hargett suspects whatever thief took her tortoises knew exactly what they were doing. She doesn't care who did it. She just wants them back.
"Just put them back, don't even say who you are," Hargett said. "Just put them right here and then tomorrow when we come, it'll be like my birthday, you know, they'll be here."
Jamie is planning to pass out fliers with the tortoises' pictures on them. She's also posted on Craigslist and Facebook just in case the person who took them is trying to now sell them. If you know anything about the stolen tortoises, call the Lee County Sheriff's Office.