Peoria man fears beloved tortoise was stolen


by Tanya Mendis

Bio | Email | Follow: @tanyamendis

Posted on May 26, 2014 at 9:56 PM

Updated Monday, May 26 at 9:58 PM

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mixed in with the posters for missing dogs and cats in one Peoria neighborhood are the signs for a missing tortoise.

Army, the 70 pound Sulcata tortoise, has been part of Rich Legere's family for the past 12 years.

"When I come home. I don't even have to call his name. He could be over inside the house and he's coming around the corner to see me," said Legere.

Last week, Legere got a frantic call from his wife that the backyard fence was open and Army was gone.

"I think he pushed it open. He's big enough to push that open," said Legere.

The tortoise, who spends most of his days playing with the family dog and enjoying an occasional strawberry for a treat, has never disappeared before.

Legere went door to door and said many of his neighbors have spent hours searching for Army. They've seen no sign of him.

"You cannot miss this thing," said Legere. "I'm hoping somebody who has this turtle will think about this and say okay I got to do the right thing and bring him back," said Legere.

Legere believes the tortoise, which he says has a value of $700, was stolen.

He contacted animal control, the city of Peoria, the herpetological society, and has even been combing Craigslist for ads for a tortoise for sale.