Florida Man accused of stealing rare books, tortoises

Published: May. 21, 2023 at 3:27 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Saint Petersburg, Flor. (WTSP) - Saint Pete Police say Joshua McCarty-Thomas is accused of stealing rare books worth thousands of dollars from two Saint Pete bookstores.

They say they received a tip which led them to search his house.

There they found two rare Galapagos tortoises that were actually stolen from a zoo in Saint Augustine.

It’s not something you see every day, But for neighbors living in this South Saint Petersburg neighborhood, they tell me they’ve seen tortoises here in Joshua McCarty-Thomas’s front lawn.

“If you were your neighbor, you wouldn’t think there’s anything unusual about him,” said Yolanda Fernandez.

For Saint. Petersburg Police, What they found inside his house is by far one of the most unusual cases as far.

“As stealing an endangered Galapagos tortoise. I don’t think these detectives have ever had to deal with something like that,” said Fernandez.

This is one of two Galapagos tortoises police say was stolen from a zoo in Saint Augustine last November.

Here is the other, unfortunately, found dead in McCarty-Thomas’s freezer. Both are microchipped.

The director of the zoo telling Saint Petersburg Police their hearts are broken knowing one didn’t survive.

“This is an animal that on an open market would sell for $10,000 or more,” said John D. Brueggen.

Also found were seven other tortoises. Unclear if these were stolen because no microchips were found.

“To just keep one in the front yard like that of your home is just unbelievable,” said Fernandez.

Saint Petersburg police say McCarty-Thomas is also accused of stealing rare books from two bookstores here in Saint Petersburg. Plus, a rare comic book in Ocala, all worth thousands.

Police say McCarty-Thomas is married to a corrections officer and has a history of stealing rare books. He served prison time in the past.

Saint Petersburg Police have a search warrant to dig through their home looking for where these stolen items could be.

Copyright 2023 WTSP via CBSNewspath. All rights reserved.