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Tortoise shoplifter gets 2 years in prison

VICTORVILLE • A 33-year-old man was sentenced to two years in prison for shoplifting two African sulcata tortoises from Pacific Pets in Hesperia.

John Chastain Nolan accepted the prosecution’s offer and pleaded guilty to one felony count of burglary. Victorville Judge Lorenzo Balderrama sentenced him immediately Wednesday.

A store camera recorded Nolan and a woman examining several reptile enclosures and removing the two $150 tortoises Nov. 5 in the pet shop located in the K-Mart shopping center.

The case received a wave of media attention from Los Angeles news stations and online outlets following a Daily Press article.

The store owner offered a $500 reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest of the shoplifters. The owner said one of his Facebook community members provided the lead that led to Nolan’s arrest.

Nolan was on post community release supervision for carrying a felony concealed weapon in a vehicle when he got arrested Nov. 8. He got a longer sentence due to his criminal history, said his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Phil Zywiciel.

The tortoises were anonymously returned to Pacific Pets after Nolan’s arrest.

Deputy District Attorney Jill Gregory said her office is still evaluating whether charges will be filed against a potential co-defendant. The prosecutor said she couldn’t comment on whether authorities have identified or located the female accomplice because the case is pending investigation.


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