A New York man suspected of stealing a 'huge a--' tortoise from an animal shelter is being defended by someone very close to home: his sharp-tongued mother.

Alleged Tortoise Thief Defended By Smart Skeptical Mom

The facts of the case are rather straightforward if not a bit unusual: on July 17th, a 95-pound African Spurred Tortoise named “Millennium” was stolen from the Alley Pond Environmental Center in Bayside, Queens, New York. As 17-year-old Millennium is a rare turtle and the theft was so unexpected, the story was picked up and broadcast by several local news stations.

Shortly thereafter, a Connecticut man who had seen one of the reports on television called police with a bizarre story. The man stated he met up with the suspected turtle thief at a train station in Fairfield, Connecticut, where he exchanged a Musk Turtle and $300 cash for a larger shelled reptile. After seeing photos of Millennium on TV, he realized his new “upgraded” tortoise had to be the missing Millennium.

Alleged Tortoise Thief Defended By Smart Skeptical Mom

While Millennium was returned to the Alley Pond Environmental Center, the hunt remained ongoing for the shell-snatcher. Evidently Shawn Waters, a 36-year old security guard with 26 prior arrests, couldn't take life as a wanted man and turned himself in on August 1st. One wonders how someone with 26 priors could be hired as a security guard but that's another story for another day.

In any case, Waters (above) was ordered held on $10,000 bail (about four times the value of the stolen tortoise) and faces a variety of charges including criminal possession of stolen property.  

Alleged Tortoise Thief Defended By Smart Skeptical Mom

Waters would appear to be in quite the pickle though a strident voice has come out to defend him: his mother. Waters “loves animals” according to 57-year-old Amy Waters, who lives with her son and his teenage daughter in a two-bedroom apartment. “That’s his passion,” she added, “and now they're trying to create him like he's some kind of monster on the news? Like, come on.”

Waters' mom does make an interesting point that will surely be discussed at her son's trial: her son doesn't own a car and doesn't even have his driver's license. “A 100-pound turtle... If he took it on the bus or something, wouldn't somebody notice that? That turtle was huge. So that's another thing that's odd, because this is a huge a-- turtle from what I saw.” Your honor, the defense rests. (via New York Daily News)