Image: Turtle thief caught on CCTV. Credit: Balicitizen.

Sindhu Dwarawati Turtle Conservation Centre, which is a conservation area in Sanur for turtles, was broken into on Monday morning and it was reported that 24 turtles had gone missing. According to the Head of South Denpasar Polsek, Commissioner Nyoman Wirajaya, police suspected that the thief was a foreigner. “But we are still not sure of the fact,” he said to baliexpress.com on Tuesday.

“We received a report at around 8pm Monday night and sent officers to the scene to investigate,” he said. A witness, I Made Winarta, 43, told police that he checked the turtles at around 5am Monday morning.

When the man, who is a conservation officer, counted the turtles, he was shocked that there were several turtles missing. “The conservation officer checked the turtles at around 5am and found that there were 24 turtles missing. The thief took mature turtles with sizes from 10 cm to 45 cm and smaller ones about 5 cm in size,” Wirajaya added.

The CCTV footage showed someone with foreigner characteristics, wearing a t-shirt and trousers lifting the turtles from the ponds and taking them away at around 3am. But Wirajaya said that they were still not sure that the thief was a foreigner.

“We are still investigating. We have never seen a theft like this in the South Denpasar jurisdiction area before,” he said.

Police are facing difficulties because there was nobody in the vicinity when the theft allegedly occurred. “We have difficulties finding witnesses, as there was nobody around at that time. The warung near the conservation centre opens at 10am,” he concluded.

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