One tortoise shoplifter arrested
HESPERIA, Nov 09, 2012 (Daily Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Following a wave of media attention, John Nolan, 33, was arrested four days after he allegedly shoplifted two African sulcata tortoises from Pacific Pets in Hesperia.
"The tortoises were anonymously returned to the pet store on Thursday after Nolan was arrested," Susan Rose, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Hesperia station, said Friday. "Nolan also goes by the name of Bowman, and was booked under that name."
Authorities are still looking for Nolan's female accomplice.
Nolan, who was arrested in the 13000 block of Elm Street in Hesperia on Thursday afternoon, was currently on post community release through California's prison realignment plan for carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle, according to Rose.
A store camera on Sunday recorded Nolan and a woman examine several reptile enclosures and remove the two $150 tortoises in the busy pet shop located in the K-Mart shopping center.
On Thursday, following a Daily Press article on the theft, news reports and video of the tortoise theft ran on several Los Angeles news stations and several online platforms.
"Thanks to everyone for your tips and leads as it was one of our Facebook community members that provided the lead that led to his arrest," shop co-owner Tom Ridge said on the store's Facebook page Thursday.
Ridge, who noticed the missing tortoises on Monday morning, offered a $500 reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest of the shoplifters.
"I hope this gives faith to everyone as to what can be done when we all come together," Ridge posted. "I hope in the future I can assist one of you if you are ever in need."
Authorities are asking for the public's help in finding the female accomplice. The entire pet shop video can be viewed at www.facebook.com/pacificpets, and anyone with information can call the Hesperia station at (760) 947-1500.
Rene De La Cruz may be reached at (760) 951-6227 or at RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com.
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