The tortoise that was taken from a Queens environmental center last week was found Monday in Connecticut after it was traded for another tortoise, police said.
The 90-pound reptile named Millennium was stolen from the Alley Pond Environmental Center in Douglaston on or around July 16, cops said. His enclosure, attached to the outside of the center’s main building, showed signs of forced entry, they said.
After it was stolen, the African spurred tortoise was traded for another tortoise to someone in Connecticut. That person contacted the NYPD after realizing it was the stolen animal.
Millennium was then picked up by police and taken back to its longtime home in Queens, according to an NYPD spokesman.
“We were elated to get him back and more relieved that he looked well,” said Venus Hall, a staff educator at the Alley Pond Environmental Center. “He did not look like he was injured or mistreated.”
The tortoise was treated to a “smorgasbord” of lettuce and other greens which Millennium happily shared with his pal “Mini Me,” a smaller tortoise at the center.
No arrests were made as of Tuesday afternoon, police said.
The African spurred tortoise is the third-largest tortoise in the world and the largest mainland tortoise, according to the center.
The center’s veterinarian said Millennium is about 17 years old, a spokeswoman said, adding that it’s hard to pin down his exact age because he arrived as a rescue after he had already grown to maturity.
Millennium will still be allowed to roam in the center’s sprawling outdoor grounds but only under close watch while a new more secure enclosure is designed and built for him.
“It’s good for him to be outside getting the sunshine – it’s something he craves,” Hall said. “But we are taking more precautions.”
With Lauren Cook