A St. Petersburg man has been charged with stealing endangered tortoises from a St. Augustine zoo, rare books from two St. Petersburg bookstores, and valuable comic books from an Ocala shop.

St. Petersburg Police detectives served a search warrant May 16 at the home of Joshua McCarty-Thomas, 46, at 2435 10th St. S in St. Petersburg. They found two rare tortoises, one alive in the yard and another carcass in a freezer.

McCarty-Thomas is accused of stealing the endangered Galapagos tortoises from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in St. Augustine on Nov. 30. Officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission verified through the tortoises’ chips that they were the ones stolen last November.

The juvenile tortoises are each worth about $10,000. The giant reptiles can reach 600 pounds and live for 150 years. The St. Augustine Police Department is the charging agency in that case. 

McCarty-Thomas is also being charged in two commercial burglaries in St. Petersburg: the theft of rare books worth thousands of dollars from Haslam’s Book Store, 2025 Central Ave., on Dec. 16, 2022; and another theft of rare books worth thousands of dollars from Lighthouse Books, 1735 First Ave. N, on Oct. 15, 2019.

There is also a warrant for his arrest in the commercial burglary of a store in Ocala, where valuable comic books worth thousands of dollars were stolen.