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San Jose Tortoise Attack Suspect Charged With Felony Animal Abuse; Held Without Bail

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – A man suspected of attacking a pet tortoise and multiple break-ins at a San Jose preschool has been charged and is being held without bail, prosecutors said.

According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, 40-year-old George Robles of San Jose faces charges of felony animal abuse, commercial burglary and vandalism stemming from multiple incidents at the Play 'N Learn preschool on 505 Massar Avenue late last month.

George Robles
George Robles. (San Jose Police Dept Photo)

"We will work diligently to protect that preschool and get accountability for the innocent victims of a heartless and heartbreaking crime," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement Tuesday.

According to prosecutors, the suspect broke into the school around 5 a.m. on January 27 and stole about $1,800 in electronics, including computers and iPad Mini tablets.

On January 30, prosecutors said the suspect broke into the preschool again and attacked Michelangelo, the school's 65 pound tortoise, stabbing his outer shell with a piece of wood.

Michelangelo the Tortoise Recovering from Attack
Michelangelo the Tortoise is recovering from an attack Saturday. (CBS)

"This is a brutal attack on something that can't defend himself," Dr. Tal Solomon of Archvet Animal Hospital told KPIX 5 following the incident.

Police found the suspect nearby and took him into custody, but the suspect was released due to COVID-19 protocols.

"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," prosecutors said.

According to the DA's office, the suspect broke into the school a third time, shortly before 7 p.m. on January 31, stealing about $1,000 in Apple iPads and groceries. The suspect fled the school the following morning when the school's owner arrived. He was arrested near the school later on that day.

Michelangelo the tortoise continues to recover at the Archvet Animal Hospital, which has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for his recovery.

Robles is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon at the Hall of Justice in San Jose.

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