A man accused of breaking into a San Jose preschool and stabbing a tortoise named Michelangelo has been charged and jailed without bail.
Prosecutors say 40-year-old George Robles attacked the class pet at Play ‘n Learn’s garden earlier this month. The tortoise sustained serious injuries, but it recovering after receiving care from a local veterinarian.
The suspect stands accused of felony animal abuse, commercial burglary and vandalism.
According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, he faces prison time if convicted. Robles is due for arraignment at 1:35pm Wednesday in Department 24 of the Hall of Justice in San Jose.
“Our thoughts are with the children and teachers at Play ‘n’ Learn,” DA Jeff Rosen said in a prepared statement. “We will work diligently to protect that preschool and get accountability for the innocent victims of a heartless and heartbreaking crime.”
Authorities say the crimes began on Jan. 27, when security footage caught Robles sneaking into the preschool through an unlocked door around 5am before making off with $1,800 worth of computers, iPad Minis and other electronics.
A few days later, according to police, a concerned citizen called 9-1-1 to report hearing glass breaking at the school. When the owner arrived, she reportedly found the tortoise impaled with a stick.
“Police found the defendant nearby,” a press release from the DA’s office recounts. “An arresting officer filed a request for the magistrate to review bail, because the alleged crime was eligible under emergency Covid rules for immediate release. The request was denied, and the defendant was released.”
The next day, close to 7pm on Jan. 28, Robles allegedly forced his way into the preschool again, this time pilfering another $1,000 in computers and groceries—all in full view of security cameras. When the owner arrived the next morning, Robles reportedly fled.
San Jose police arrested Robles on Jan. 29 near the school.
“This time,” the DA’s announcement continued, “after a hearing, the defendant was remanded without bail.”