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Sanibel police arrest teen accused of taking turtle egg

By Staff | Jul 27, 2016

A Cape Coral man is accused of stealing a turtle egg from a sea turtle nest on Sanibel.

Adrian Andre Morales-Corrales, 19, of 2111 N.E. 24th Terrace, was arrested and charged last Wednesday with conservation animals possess 11 or fewer marine turtle eggs, according to booking records.

He was released from the Lee County Jail on Friday.

At about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sanibel police were in the area of Bowman’s Beach near Silver Key when a man was observed on his hands and knees over a sea turtle nest. A police report states that the man, later identified as Morales-Corrales, saw police drawing closer and walked toward the officer.

When the officer stopped next to him, Morales-Corrales asked if it was OK to dig in a turtle nest. The officer told Morales-Corrales that it was not OK and asked if he had been digging in the turtle nest.

Morales-Corrales reportedly stated that he had only taken one egg.

He then opened the front pocket of a backpack that he was carrying and removed one egg from it, according to the report. Morales-Corrales was taken into custody for possession of a turtle egg.

The officer noted that the nest was marked with yellow tape and stakes with warning signs.

Photographs were taken of the egg and the disturbed nest before the egg was reburied.

Morales-Corrales was transported to the Sanibel Police Department, where he provided a statement.

He was then moved to the Lee County Jail, where he was booked on the misdemeanor count.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were notified. The police report was forwarded to federal prosecutors for violation of two U.S. codes.

The report states that officials at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service later advised the Sanibel Police Department that the case would remain at the local level and that federal charges would not be sought.

Morales-Corrales has a court appearance scheduled for Aug. 9.