In St. Petersburg, detectives made a significant discovery in the backyard of Joshua McCarty-Thomas, a man previously arrested for stealing rare items. The recent excavation unearthed a collection of valuable and unusual artifacts, adding a new chapter to an already remarkable case.
McCarty-Thomas, who was initially arrested in May, faced allegations of stealing endangered Galápagos tortoises, valued at $10,000 each, from a St. Augustine zoo. Alongside the tortoises, police discovered an array of valuable collectibles in his home, including rare books, expensive comics, and antique newspapers, all believed to be worth thousands of dollars.
St. Pete Police Department’s Public Information Officer, Yolanda Fernandez, highlighted the case’s uniqueness and the challenges it presented. “We’re not experts in things like rare books and comic books, so we’ve had to bring experts in to help us sort through this,” Fernandez explained. The goal has been to identify the origins of these items and return them to their rightful owners.
The investigation took a dramatic turn on Tuesday when detectives, following leads, returned to McCarty-Thomas’s residence. Their efforts led to the discovery of more stolen goods buried in his backyard, including expensive jewelry and other valuables, concealed in Walmart shopping bags.
Further investigations led to a storage unit containing signed musical instruments and framed art. “This has been an enormous amount of work in this case,” Fernandez remarked, emphasizing the detectives’ commitment to uncovering the full extent of the thefts.
Currently detained in the Pinellas County Jail, McCarty-Thomas faces 10 counts, including burglary and grand theft. Despite the substantial recovery of stolen goods, authorities believe there could be more yet undiscovered. “He’s the only one who knows if there’s anything else out there,” Fernandez stated, hinting at the potential for further revelations in this ongoing real-life treasure hunt.