Reptile breeder employee arrested for stealing python eggs, baby turtles

GOLDEN GATE ESTATES, Fla.- A man is in jail after he admitted he stole 60 reptiles and tried to raise them at home.

Wayne Simmons, 50, worked at Reptile Industries as a caretaker for two years. The owner said he was a trusted employee and was even given extra duties which included looking after the owner’s horses and other personal animals. Reports show from the start Simmons began taking reptiles. The owners said Simmons admitted to putting python eggs in his pockets and taking baby turtles after they hatched. Deputies recovered more than $7,000 worth of reptiles inside Simmons home but the owners believe he took upwards of $20,000 worth.

Simmons told the owners sorry in an e-mail and returned the stolen reptiles, but the owners wonder if he was just sorry he was caught. Reports show the ages of the animals suggest he was stealing right up to the moment the business realized his game. Simmons turned himself into the Collier County jail.

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