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Old 08-04-2007, 08:21 AM   #1
Clay Davenport
Stolen tortoise was considered family to Berwyn resident

Berwyn, IL -

While most home burglars go after electronics, cash, jewelry and the occasional snow blower, one Berwyn family came home to find their back door window kicked out and an empty terrarium inside.

After attending her daughter’s wedding last weekend, Janine Cordero arrived home Saturday morning and noticed Myrtle, the family’s 25-year-old pet tortoise, gone.

Also missing: An urn with Cordero’s mother’s ashes and a painting of Jesus.

Police say they are following a lead and Cordero is offering a $1,000 reward for Myrtle’s safe return. Bright pink “MISSING” signs are taped to light posts and telephone poles around the neighborhood.

“She was the most important thing,” Cordero said.

Cordero said she and her husband suspect whoever took Myrtle is someone they know because only personal items with sentimental value were stolen.

According to the police, the home was burglarized between 5:30 p.m. July 27 and 2 a.m. the following day.

“It’s really devastating,” Cordero said. “It’s not quite like a missing child, but I can get a feeling of what they feel like.”

Berwyn Police Cmdr. Tom O’Halloran said the department has not yet determined the monetary value of the tortoise.

“It’s unusual to steal an animal such as that,” O’Halloran said.

Brookfield Zoo’s Senior Reptile Keeper, Mark Herbert, said Myrtle appears to be a Texas Tortoise, which are becoming less abundant in the wild.

“They are fairly rare,” Herbert said.

Myrtle first became part of Cordero’s family when her brother bought her 25 years ago. He eventually gave the turtle to their mother, who passed her along to Cordero about 16 years ago.

Cordero said she is worried about Myrtle’s health and said she has a special diet including fruits, vegetables and greens.

“She’s had to go for medical care a couple of times,” Cordero said. “I really worry about her and if she’s being taken care of.”

Cordero said she’s been contacting various businesses with the hope someone found Myrtle and brought her somewhere safe.

“I’m going to the vet shops and the zoo to see if someone dropped her off there,” Cordero said. “Whoever has her really needs to bring her back or turn her in to the police station no questions asked.”

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