Police recover seven stolen Santa Fe Teaching Zoo animals from Gainesville apartment


    Authorities say they've recovered seven animals stolen from the Santa Fe Teaching Zoo from a nearby apartment.

    Santa Fe College Police and the Alachua County Sheriff's Office say three Florida box turtles, two red-foot tortoises, a skink and a squirrel monkey were found inside an apartment near the northwest campus. No suspect information has been released yet.

    All of the animals were taken overnight between May 29th and May 30th. Four more animals that were stolen a week before - two gopher tortoises and two box turtles - are still missing, police said.

    Police say evidence at the zoo indicates the animals were forcefully taken from their enclosures. Investigators say they acted on a tip, and zoo employees and students helped positive identify the animals.

    "It was a great collaboration of effort from the community," SFPD Chief Ed Book said in a statement. "We are grateful for the many tips we received from the public, as well as the coordinated efforts of the Alachua County Sheriff's Office and the college community that led to the rescue of these animals. Our investigation still has a long way to go, but recovering these animals was a great start."

    SF Teaching Zoo director Jonathan Miot said in a statement that he is happy the animals were returned. "Thankfully, the police received a tip that led to the recovery of the animals," Miot said. "We are still hopeful that the two gopher tortoises and two box turtles who need medical attention are recovered."

    The SFPD is still encouraging the public to contact them at 352-395-5519 if they have any information on the four remaining animals.

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