Bandits Make Off With … Tortoise

This was one shell of a heist.

A pet Sulcata Desert Tortoise that apparently escaped from its owner’s backyard in the 2000 block of Alpha Avenue was stolen last week by three men driving along who spotted the 100-pound rogue reptile in the middle of the street, stopped and scooped up the critter.   

“It was trying to get to the other side, like the chicken,’’ said Det. Richard Lee, a police officer for 25 years who acknowledged that this was his first tortoise case.

A quick online check revealed that such tortoises, often kept as pets, can sell for between $50 and $250.

Security video released by police shows the actual tortoise-taker bending over to lift the brown-colored creature with two hands. Police described the man as Hispanic, wearing a red shirt, blue jeans and tan cowboy hat. His accomplices were described only as Hispanic males wearing blue jeans and red shirts.

The theft took place Wednesday, Aug. 7 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m., when the tortoise’s owner phoned police, Lee said. The men were driving a white Ford F-150 pickup truck.

Lee said a neighbor had spotted the theft in progress and tried to stop the thieves, telling them the tortoise belonged to a nearby resident. But the neighbor was ignored. The witness was able to grab a blurry cell-phone shot of the suspect, and police issued a bulletin.

The tortoise remains missing. Police ask anyone with information to call detectives at (626) 403-7280.

Click here for Official Crime Bulletin.

Food Fight

Call this crime “assault with a breadly weapon.’’

A man whom police said was a transient was arrested on Friday, Aug. 9, outside the Starbucks in the 400 block of Fair Oaks Avenue and charged with simple battery after hurling a bagel at an employee of the coffee joint.

Police said the man, Adam Farley, 29, who is known to police, was not a customer and was asked by the employee to leave the outside table area. Farley then grabbed a bagel off one of the tables and hurled it, hitting the employee in the chest, police said.