HOMESTEAD, FLA. (WSVN) - The owner of a popular family business in Homestead is hoping the public will help him recover two large tortoises, days after, he said, they were stolen from their enclosure.
According to the owners of Phil’s Berry Farm, Dots and Speedy were taken from a mini petting zoo on the property, Friday night.
“We have a little, teeny petting area. We have some chickens, a few goats, and missing now are my two tortoises,” said Phil’s Berry Farm owner Philip Marraccini.
The owners took to social media and contacted Miami-Dade Police in the hopes of locating the missing reptiles. “We do have a camera, and we have a rough idea of the vehicle they used,” said Marraccini.
Both tortoises weigh over 60 pounds, but Marraccini said the thieves still managed to get away with them in the middle of the night, leaving behind an empty enclosure.
“The day before they were taken, the other side of this facility was open, and I just thought nothing of it,” said Marraccini. “I just thought maybe a customer pulled it back to look at them, and then the next day, the other side is open. I came out at around 6:30 in the morning, 7 ‘clock in the morning, and saw the other side open, and the tortoises were gone.”
The business, located near Southwest 248th Street and Coconut Palm Drive, is frequented by South Florida residents, tourists and students on school tours. It is also known for its homemade milkshakes and cinnamon rolls.
“The tortoises were one of the biggest attractions, so I’m kind of hurt now that we can’t provide that for the children to see and play with,” said Marraccini.
The owners said they are offering a reward for whoever can help them locate Dots and Speedy. “I’m just hoping that, whoever has them, if they’re going to keep them, that they take good care of them,” said Marraccini. “I would love to have them back.”
If you know anything about the tortoises’ whereabouts, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.
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