WATCH: Brazen turtle napper caught on CCTV
A DISTRESSED pet shop worker is pleading with a thief to bring back a stolen baby turtle.
The tiny Macquarie Turtle was discovered missing from a tank at pet shop Best Friends Ipswich this week.
After counting the animals and noticing one missing, staff checked the store's comprehensive CCTV footage which clearly shows a young woman stealing the turtle.
The incident unfolded about 2pm on Thursday.
Now General Manager Darren Richards is pleading with the thief to return the turtle, fearing it will die without proper care.
"It's very distressing," Mr Richards said.
"The turtles need specific things like UV light to bask, a heated tank, proper food.
"It's only a couple of months old."
Mr Richards hopes the woman brings the turtle back saying if they did it for some welfare reason and planned to release it, the turtle would almost certainly die as it was bred in captivity.
"I'm upset for the animal," he said.
"Our biggest concern is its welfare. I don't understand why they did it? All they have achieved is potentially killing that turtle."
Other than putting the animal at risk, the woman has put herself at risk of being slapped with fines in the range of $4000.
In Queensland to keep specific animals, including turtles, people must have a permit issued by the Environment Department.
The theft has been reported to Queensland Police who are investigating.
All enclosures at Best Friends are fitted with security devices but the CCTV footage shows the young woman forcing her way into the tank, while an older woman walks around the shop.
The footage also clearly shows the young woman placing the turtle in her pocket.
The pet store is fitted with multiple cameras and the incident was caught on video, from several angles.
Footage will be submitted to police as evidence.
Police have appealed to any members of the public with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online at crimestoppersqld.com.au.