Stolen tortoise back home with Phoenix family

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by Associated Press

Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on April 3, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 3 at 7:17 PM

PHOENIX (AP) -- Police say a 100-pound tortoise named "Jeeps" is home safe after he went missing from his Phoenix home and was then nabbed by the driver of an auto parts store van.

Jeeps' owner returned home Friday from an appointment to find her gate open and the tortoise gone. The loss was devastating to the family, which had purchased Jeeps 16 years ago.

A neighbor found the tortoise and put up flyers.

Police say 24-year-old Derek McKnight saw one of the flyers and called the neighbor, claiming to be the owner. He picked up the tortoise and drove off.

After finding out moments later, Jeeps' real owner asked police for help.

Officer Ryan Ferrell enlisted the help of his fellow officers and found Jeeps within seven hours, and McKnight was arrested.

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