Tooele man fears his beloved tortoise, ‘Zepellin’ was stolen to be sold on black market

Posted at 6:29 PM, Nov 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-29 11:59:05-05

TOOELE, Utah -- A search is underway for a missing tortoise in Tooele.

Zeppelin is a 60 pound male Sulcata Tortoise and he disappeared from the corner of 900 south and Coleman on Thanksgiving day.

Its owner, Kory Sagendorf, was having Thanksgiving dinner and he thinks someone decided they wanted the tortoise.

Known as "Utah's Vape Guy," Sagendorf has been rescuing tortoises for a couple of years.

Sagendorf said someone told him a small-framed blonde girl in a newer red Honda or Jeep was trying to get into his backyard around the time the tortoise went missing.

"Zeppelin, he was my first, he was my buddy," Sagendorf said.  "I've had him the longest, I mean he's like a child to me, honestly."

When Sagendorf first got Zepellin, he was in bad shape and suffering from severe malnutrition.  Now he's fully grown and is two-feet long, between 60 and 70 pounds, one and a half to two feet wide, and over a foot high.

The tortoise needs a special diet and could become seriously ill if fed things like fresh vegetables and fruit.

Sagendorf fears whoever took him will try to sell him on the black market.  A tortoise like Zeppelin could be sold for anywhere from $500 to $800, Sagendorf said.

Over a thousand people in Tooele are looking for the tortoise, and a reward that started at $300 has already been bumped up to $450.

If you see a big tortoise, call Sagendorf at (801) 835-6665.