A Queens man is accused of perpetrating the worst crime of the “Millennium.”
Shawn Waters, 36, of 103rd Street in East Elmhurst has been charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property after allegedly selling Millennium, a 17-year-old tortoise who was swiped from Alley Pond Environmental Center last month, to a Connecticut man. Waters faces up to four years in prison for the Class E felony.
On July 17 at about 4 p.m., the animal was discovered missing from Alley Pond Environmental Center on Northern Boulevard in Douglaston by an employee. The African spurred tortoise, who is estimated to be worth approximately $2,500, was taken from his enclosure.
About a week later, the 111th Precinct Detective Squad was able to pinpoint Millennium in Connecticut and returned him in good condition to staff at the Douglaston environmental center, who were able to identify him as the missing animal.
According to District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Waters was the middle man in a series of reptile trades that spanned the tri-state area. The East Elmhurst man, who was looking to exchange his snapping turtle for a tortoise, allegedly met with an unidentified man in Bayside to trade make the trade. The tortoise in question, it is alleged, was the beloved Millennium.
After picking up the tortoise in Bayside, Waters allegedly headed to the Fairfield, CT Metro North train station to trade the tortoise for a musk turtle put up for sale on Criagslist by a local man. Waters also received $300 in the trade.
The following day, the Fairfield man contacted police when he realized the tortoise he was now in possession of was the stolen Millennium.
Waters is being held on $10,000 bail and will return to court on Aug. 16.