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Cruiser the 90-pound stolen tortoise is back home, still ‘a little upset’

Karen Short got the surprise of a lifetime early Wednesday when her beloved 90-pound tortoise, Cruiser, was returned unharmed six days after he was stolen from her yard.

Her hero: a man who purchased Cruiser for $200 at a fair in Wilmington but then saw Short’s public appeal for help in the media.

“I am just overjoyed and elated,” she said.

Short had been offering a $100 reward for the safe return of the sulcata tortoise, but the man declined it, saying he didn’t feel it was right because Cruiser had been stolen.

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Cruiser was taken from Short’s fenced frontyard, where she normally keeps him along with a second tortoise, named Tank. It was there that the pair had become neighborhood celebrities, attracting children and seniors alike.

You might think it would be hard to gauge a tortoise’s spirits. But Short said she sees her pet is “a little upset.” Being swiped, carried off and resold at a fair hasn’t been easy for him.

“He doesn’t understand,” Short said. “He’s an animal.”

Now that Cruiser and Tank have been reunited, Short said she will still keep them in the frontyard, but she’ll take additional security measures.

As for the man who almost became Cruiser’s new owner, Short said she plans to help him find a tortoise of his own.

For breaking news in Los Angeles and throughout California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA. She can be reached at veronica.rocha@latimes.com.


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