7 months in House of Correction for man convicted of stealing baby tortoises ‘to pay for drugs’

Gary Kaczynski

MILWAUKEE COUNTY — A Milwaukee man convicted of stealing five Sulcata tortoises from Pet World has been sentenced.

Gary Kaczynski, 33, on June 22 pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of retail theft, intentionally taking less than $500.

In court on Thursday, July 19, he was sentenced to serve seven months in the House of Correction, with credit for 134 days time served. He was ordered to pay $1,289.94 in restitution to PetWorld on S. 108th Street,

This case was filed in March of 2018.

Online court records show he has two other open cases — one filed in March and one filed in January — both out of Waukesha County.

He’s charged with felony bail jumping in the March case, and retail theft, intentionally concealing greater than $500 to $5,000, as party to a crime in the January case.

He’ll be in court on Aug. 2 in both of those cases.

According to the criminal complaint in the tortoise theft case, Kaczynski stole the tortoises from the business located near 108th and Oklahoma. It happened on Feb. 26, but wasn’t discovered until Feb. 28.

The theft was caught on camera.

According to the complaint in the tortoise theft case, the surveillance video shows Kaczynski reach into the turtle tank with his right arm. He appears to have concealed the turtles into the sleeve of his jacket.

The complaint indicates the turtles have a retail value of $179.99 a piece  — for a total value of $899.95.

Kaczynski’s mother, father and his own young son say they saw him stealing five baby tortoises from Pet World in West Allis while watching our report on FOX6 News. They said when they saw the surveillance video on the news, the suspect’s coat, hat and neck tattoo made it immediately clear to them who it was. They said they called the police in an effort to save his life.

His mother and stepfather told FOX6 News Kaczynski stole the five baby Sulcata tortoises to pay for drugs.

The baby tortoises were not recovered.