Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Over 1,000 Turtles from Oklahoma
Better hope the Ninja Turtles don't hear about this news.
A New Jersey man named William T. Gangemi plead guilty this morning to stealing over one thousand turtles from the Oklahoma area. He conspired with others to collect three-toed and western box turtles from the state to sell them for profit. "Gangemi was part of a syndicate of wildlife smugglers where protected turtles were exchanged back and forth between the United States and China," a news release said.
Box turtles are a protected species in the state because they have a high nest and juvenile mortality rate and are slow to mature. Thefts like these can have detrimental effects on the population. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation conducted an investigation and had enough evidence on Gangemi.
Gangemi agreed to pay pay $250,000 in restitution to the Oklahoma Department Wildlife Conservation and a $100,000 fine.