Giant Tortoises Stolen from Redland Farm
On the night of January 27th two tortoises, Dots and Speedy were stolen from Phil’s Berry Farm, located at 13955 SW 248th street, on the edge of the Redlands.
Each weighted over sixty pounds and were great attractions to children who frequent the farm. A bulletin was sent out to all forms of media in hopes of getting coverage that might insure a quick return of the docile reptiles.
After the police, Channel 7 (WSVN) was the first to arrive doing a
segment on their nightly and morning news. The Herald followed with an article that appeared on their internet site. But it didn’t end there. A news channel in Tampa also showed interest in airing a story so pictures were e-mailed of the missing pets.
All of a sudden the phone started ringing and I received dozens of phone calls from well-wishers. There were calls from West Ft. Lauderdale telling of wandering tortoises but no one was able to retrace their tracks. Couldn’t catch them, too fast I guess!
One day a strange e-mail came in but that too fell short of recovery. Like rapid gunfire I received five phone calls from people wanting to donate their pet tortoises so visitors can again enjoy these gentile giants. I told them I was very interested but could not take them until I finished my new tortoise facility complete with a super security system that will include 15 hidden cameras.
In the meantime a lady called stating she found a female tortoise roaming 8th Street on the edge of Coral Gables. She brought it to me the next morning. It definitely was not mine but a reward of a few strawberry milk shakes and some monkey bread was given for effort. This “she tortoise” had a telephone number on her shell but a few of the numbers were illegible. Several “guess” calls were made by my wife Patty but without success. A few days later a frantic “Grace” called. She and her runaway were united in a tearful reunion. We exchanged conversation and she told of her massive effort to find her pet. Grace tried every method short of putting a picture on a milk carton. Of course, we refused her generous reward. I discovered her dad had graduated from Christopher Columbus High School in Miami a few years before I taught there. Small world isn’t it?
This week I will pick up a few donated tortoises. Though our new additions will fill the space Dots and Speedy occupied, they can never replace the originals in our hearts.
Anyone having information to the capture of the “tortoise kidnappers” will receive a hefty cash reward. As a bonus to all reading this, bring in an original News Leader with this article to Phil’s Berry Farm and get a FREE shake.