'Stolen' museum tortoise was trapped in lift

'Stolen' museum tortoise was trapped in its enclosure

A tortoise which was believed to be stolen from a museum in Iowa, America was found by a member of staff who then kept the animal hidden to keep up the story about its theft, the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium said on Friday.

The museum worker found the nine-year-old African leopard tortoise, named Cashew, and put her in a lift in the building to prevent the museum from being embarrassed, Jerry Enzler, president and CEO of the museum in Dubuque announced.

Just two days after the reptile was reported missing and the museum announced that she had been stolen, the museum employee found her but later came forward with the truth when museum officials told the press that the thief had returned Cashew, 9News reports.

According to the Huffington Post, the employee has not been released from her job.

In a statement, Enzler said: "It has good karma to know Cashew wasn't stolen and someone didn't violate the museum and its exhibit.

"I think it restores our faith in humanity to know someone didn't take the animal."

Cashew is one of six large tortoises at the museum. She was put back on display on Saturday.

The news comes after three stolen reptiles from a California science museum were found last week. A suspect was arrested after a savannah monitor lizard, a red-tailed boa constrictor and ball python were taken from the Fresno Discovery Centre. Another ball python is still missing.

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'Stolen' museum tortoise was trapped in lift

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