JOHN CREEK, Ga. - Johns Creek police are searching three teenagers who stole from the Autrey Mill Nature Preserve on Sunday.
Lizen Hayes, executive director of the preserve, said the teens were caught on camera allegedly stealing five box turtles from their enclosure.
The property is home to turtles, a tortoise, chickens, goats, among other animals.
According to Hayes, the teens were seen walking about the nature preserve earlier in the day.
"We have them on camera coming back behind the visitor's center, actually breaking open the box turtle enclosure," she said.
She said the video surveillance then shows the three teenagers putting the five turtles into a bucket and walking away.
Other surveillance shows the teens walking around the property with the bucket.
Hayes said the turtles are used to being fed by the staff and won't be able to fend for themselves.
"These have all been living in captivity their whole lives. One only has three legs, he's missing one of his front legs. They just wouldn't survive in the wild. That's our fear right this moment," she said.
According to John's Creek Police, the three teens caught on video are around 16 to 17 years old.
They face charges of felony theft by taking and misdemeanor trespassing.
Hayes said the Autrey Mill Nature Preserve was built by the community for the community.
"The beginnings of it happened in the late 80s to preserve this beautiful land as this area was becoming more and more suburban," Hayes said.
She said it's disappointing to know people would want to steal from a space that is open for the community to enjoy.
"This was built by this community, so the turtles not only belong to Autrey Mill, but they belong to the community at large," Hayes said.
If you recognize the teens, please contact Detective R. Bucki at 678-474-1579 . You can also e-mail email@example.com and reference Case# 2021- 003429.