Runaway Tortoise Avoids Spending Night Behind Bars After It Is Reunited With Owners

The 60-pound reptile was found scooting along in the middle of the street.

A runaway tortoise was reunited with its owners just hours before it would have been forced to spend the night behind bars in Arizona.

Read: Runaway Tortoise Returns to Family's Former Home, 2 Years Later

Officers with the Gilbert Police Department responded to a call of a tortoise attempting to cross the street at a glacial pace early Thursday, Sergeant Darrell Krueger said.

A cable electrician who first spotted the hefty reptile tried to move it along, but he needed backup. 

“He was trying to scoot the tortoise off [but] it is a beast, it must have been 60 to 70 pounds,” Krueger told

Police brought the tortoise back to headquarters, where they secured it in a kennel they normally use to house stray dogs, Krueger said.

He then posted its photo on social media in hopes of finding its owners.

“You could tell it was in great condition – no damage to the shell, no damage to the extremities,” he explained. “It seemed to be domesticated and friendly to people. We had a good idea it was a beloved pet.”

Despite how uncommon it may seem for a household to have a pet tortoise, Krueger said he had several people drop by the station to check if it might be theirs.

Someone who lived nearly 40 miles away and someone who lost their tortoise in 2010 were among those who stopped by the police department, he said.

Read: Cowboy Rides Hood of Sheriff's Patrol Car to Lasso Runaway Cow: 'I Said Come On... and Bring Your Rope'

“It’s shocking how many people are in the tortoise world,” Krueger said. “People who own tortoises are pretty passionate about it.”

Eventually, the tortoise's actual owners came to pick up their pet about 9 p.m. 

“We were happy to put our efforts to reuniting them,” Krueger said. “It’s a love story gone right.”

Watch: Runaway Zebra Leads Police on Lengthy Chase: 'There's No Way There's a Zebra in My Backyard'