2:50 PM PDT, June 9, 2021
Brazen thieves caught in the act of stealing a 200-pound Galapagos tortoise in Arizona ran over the animal as they fled the scene. The owner, Jerry Fife, saw the two men trying to carry the massive tortoise named Jasmine to their truck, when he ran out to confront them.
Fife successfully scared them off, but they ran over the tortoise while fleeing the scene.
“They jumped in their truck, and in their haste to escape, flipped their truck around and ran over the tortoise,” Fife said.
Fife rushed Jasmine to the vet, but sadly, her injuries were too severe. Dr. Jim Jarchow, the veterinarian who treated Jasmine, said he had never seen injuries so catastrophic in a giant tortoise before.
“In the U.S., the giant tortoise can go for anywhere from $20,000 to $70,000. If they’re able to smuggle it out of the country, it could go up to $200,000,” Fife explained.
Fife raises tortoises at his home in Phoenix and has had Jasmine since she hatched 27 years ago. For him, the tortoise theft gone wrong was like losing a member of the family.
“That tortoise has been with me longer than any other living thing in my life,” Fife said, fighting back tears.
Phoenix police are hoping the videos will help lead to an arrest.