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Police Blotter General notifications about thefts, breakins or and cases where animals or materials are stolen. Photos of the merchandise taken can be posted to help with recovery.

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Old 02-04-2023, 02:15 PM   #1
Rare snake returned to owner seven years after being stolen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Brandon Wall had long given up looking for the valuable package delivered to his home back in 2015.

Seven years later, the contents of that box, a prized snake, finally made it to its intended recipient.

“Bottom line is we were thinking, ‘what happened to this snake?'” Wall said.

If we called this story a ‘Christmas Miracle,’ you’d probably boo and hiss.

The journey of Patches the snake isn’t exactly the plot of a Hallmark Movie, but the tale is surprisingly sentimental.

“All the memories of the events just kind of flooded back. I was like, ‘Wow, this crazy!” said Wall, who still sees the beauty in the three-foot cinnamon piebald ball python.

It’s a rare ball python morph.

“There’s the itty bitty little heart right there,” Wall said, pointing to a mark on the snake.

Brandon was a breeder when he ordered Patches for 18 hundred bucks shipped, banking on the potential of making a small fortune.

“You have to invest big money to make big money,” said Wall.

Imagine his sinking feeling when the box containing his hefty investment was nowhere to be found at his former home in the Walnut Creek neighborhood.

“The day it was supposed to come in, I went outside after it said ‘delivered’ about an hour later, and there was no package,” he explained.

Wall filed a police report, claiming an unknown suspect stole the package delivered via FedEx. Cops never found the suspect who snaked the snake.

As the weeks, months, and years went by, he feared the crook was surprised by the serpent and killed it.

“They go to open the box thinking maybe they’ve got some kind of nice goodies in there, and they see a live reptile,” Wall pictures. “And worse comes to worst, they’re like, ‘ooh,’ and ‘goodbye.’ So honestly, for quite a while, that was eating me up.”

This year, a friendly neighborhood critter catcher entered the picture.

Ronald Prather of Homeland Wildlife Removal is the guy folks call to remove raccoons, skunks, you name it, from their property.

“Oh, it’s fantastic, I love stories like these where I get to help people, and I get to do something different,” Prather said.

In September, a North Charlotte man hired Prather after finding a snake in a box in his garage next to the golf clubs.

“So they call me over, and there was this piebald python… and I was just jaw-dropped, I didn’t even know what it was,” said Prather.

The homeowner posted the find on the NextDoor app in case someone was in search of their snake. Then the post was shared on Facebook.

That’s how Wall saw it.

“I was like, ‘this can’t be it; this can’t be it.” And I was like, ‘is my mind playing tricks on me? I asked my fiancé, and she said, ‘That’s the snake!'” Wall recalled.

“I was like, ‘this thing is not from North Carolina!'” Prather says.

The markings, including that little black heart, are so distinct that Wall firmly believes it’s his long-lost reptile.

“We never thought we’d see her again, and it’s just crazy,” he said.

Prather’s theory is that after it went missing, Patches was likely in captivity for a while and somehow got loose. It turned up in that homeowner’s basement about 8 miles from where it was first delivered.

Because of the financial hit he took from the theft, Wall got out of the snake breeding business. But his family is keeping Patches, and his five-year-old loves the new family member.

“She’ll say, ‘can we take out Patches? Can we hold Patches?'” said Wall.

If that’s not a heartwarming holiday twist, maybe you’re the cold-blooded one.


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