A Rare African Tortoise Named ‘Thing’ Is Being Held For Ransom In Florida

A Venice, Florida woman, Marlane Ritzman, claims that her beloved 70 lbs. African tortoise named “Thing” was nefariously turtle-napped by some bad men. Apparently Thing had a habit of escaping from her backyard; so much so that she’s actually painted her phone number on his shell so he can be returned by whomever Good Samaritan finds him. However this last time Thing wandered off, she got the call as usual only this time she was met with kidnapping demands.

Dun dun dun! Via ABC7:

Ritzman says a woman called and said, “We found your turtle.” In the background, Ritzman could hear a male voice asking if there was a reward for Thing’s safe return. Ritzman says she didn’t have nor did she want to hand over a reward, told the caller as much, and they hung up.

Ritzman claims more calls followed, with the turtle-nappers taunting her, saying things like “You’ll never see your turtle alive again.”

Police got briefly involved but when they made contact with the turtle-nappers, the caller said that they had taken the tortoise to a nearby park, so law enforcement couldn’t prove that any crime had been committed. I mean, other than just going to the house of the people who had claimed to have been holding the tortoise, obviously, to see if it was still there — but this is Florida we’re talking about. They’ve got more important things to do like bust criminals whose names match the kind of crime they’ve committed.