Photo Courtesy of Google
Millennium went missing from Alley Pond Environmental Center last July.
By Forum Staff
The hare might have crossed the road before the fabled tortoise, but it was justice that took steps to stay ahead of an Elmhurst man who plead guilty to criminally possessing Millennium, the 17-year-old tortoise, that went missing from the Alley Pond Environmental Center in Douglaston, in July 2017.
Queens DA Brown announced the six-month sentencing levied on Shawn Waters, 37 of 103rd Street in Elmhurst, referring to the incident as “Millennium the tortoise’s summer escapade.” Thankfully the rare reptile is back at home after an illicit journey that included crossing state lines. He was located in Connecticut and returned to the park, just a week after his reported disappearance. DA warned other potential reptile robbers that his office pursues justice for all in Queens County, “whether they are warm or cold blooded citizens”.
An employee at the APEC realized that Millennium, an African spurred tortoise, had disappeared from his habitat around 4:00 p.m. on July 16. Staffers discovered a hole in the rear fence near Millennium’s area and called the police.
The 95-pound reptile is estimated to be 17 years old and worth roughly $2,500.
Shortly thereafter, a Stamford, Connecticut, man who posted an ad on Craigslist to sell a musk turtle, received a call from a man who was offering to trade an African spurred tortoise for the musk turtle.
On July 23, the two men met at the Fairfield Metro North train station and made the exchange. Waters walked away from the deal with the musk turtle and $300 in cash for Millennium.
But the following day, the Connecticut man saw the news reports about the disappearance and called police. An APEC employee verified Millennium’s identity and he was returned to his home.
Police used the cell phone number to trace Waters and during a conversation with an NYPD detective, he admitted speaking to the other turtle owner and making the reptilian exchange.