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This is one of those crazy stories that will undoubtedly become legend in Dubuque, Iowa. As it turns out, Cashew the leopard tortoise was not stolen from a museum. She was hiding.
On Tuesday, officials at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium reported that the tortoise was missing and presumed stolen. Then on Thursday, Cashew turned up in an elevator after the thief presumably felt bad and returned to the museum, placed it in the elevator, pushed the button, and let it go.
On Friday, the museum’s operators finally revealed what really happened.
Cashew crawled behind what seemed to be an impenetrable wall and was trapped. On Thursday afternoon, a museum employee found the tortoise and was overjoyed, but panicked about how to reveal that Cashew had not been stolen but had been trapped.
So, in an attempt to protect the museum from looking foolish, the employee place Cashew on the elevator so it would be immediately found. Hours after the news broke, the employee became upset about making the wrong decision and fessed up to museum president Jerry Enzler.
Enzler said, “The action taken by the employee Thursday afternoon was wrong and is not reflective on the integrity of the staff who dedicate themselves to the highest of Museum & Aquarium standards. We apologize to the media and to the community. Because this is a personnel issue, the name of the employee is not being released.”
Enzler added that the museum’s faith in humankind has been restored. She said Cashew has newfound admiration for being crafty.