Florida man accused of stealing 18 turtles worth $30,000

ESTERO, Fla. — A Florida man is behind bars after deputies said he stole 18 turtles worth $30,000.

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According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Jermaine Wofford, 47, was booked Friday on a larceny-grand theft charge in connection with the incident, which occurred at Turtle Source in Estero.

The business’ owner, turtle breeder Marcus Cantos, told WBBH-TV that he realized some valuable hatchlings were missing last week. Cantos said he reviewed the security camera footage and discovered that a repair man hired to fix a drink cooler had taken the turtles, WINK-TV reported.

Cantos called the Sheriff’s Office, which used facial recognition software and the video to identify the suspect as Wofford, according to WINK. Although investigators apprehended Wofford and found five of the stolen turtles, 13 others worth about $20,000 total are still missing, Cantos told the news outlet.

Wofford is being held in the Lee County Jail on $50,000 bond, according to booking records.