COLLIER COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – A Florida man has been charged with stealing more than 60 pythons and tortoises from a reptile farm in Collier County, the county deputies said.
Collier County detectives started the investigation in November when the owner of the Reptile Industries in Golden Gate Estates told them that she suspects one of her 74 employees was stealing reptile eggs from the farm. Reptile Industries is a farm that commercially breeds exotic reptiles for pet stores and collectors around the country.
Collier County Sheriff’s detectives met with the farm employee Wayne Edward Simmons, 50, asking him questions about the theft. Simmons confessed to stealing the eggs from the company.
The eggs eventually hatched, and Simmons ended up keeping more than 60 snakes and tortoises at his home located on Rock Road.
After Simmons turned himself in Wednesday, deputies recovered one pancake tortoise, seven yellow-footed tortoises, nine red-footed tortoises, one cherry head tortoise, and 38 children’s spotted pythons. According to the CCSO reports, the total value of the recovered animals was $7,300.
Simmons was charged with felony Grand Theft.