Sea Turtle Egg Stealer Gets Stiff Sentence - NBC 6 South Florida

Sea Turtle Egg Stealer Gets Stiff Sentence

Two and a half years behind bars for Riviera Beach man who swiped eggs



    Sea Turtle Egg Stealer Gets Stiff Sentence
    Getty Images
    NETANYA, ISRAEL - JUNE 28: Israeli marine biologist Yaniv Levy removes eggs from a the 40cm deep nest left behind by a female turtle the previous night in a Mediterranean beach, during his early morning nest patrol June 28, 2006 near the central Israeli city of Netanya. Every morning during the nesting season of the rare Green turtles and the somewhat more prevalent Loggerhead turtles, Levy and his associates from the Nature and Parks Authority search Israel's 190 kilometers of Mediterranean coastline, from the Lebanese border in the north to the Gaza Strip in the south, looking for telltale signs of a nest. In their struggle to protect the species, whose numbers have dwindled in the Mediterranean to an estimated 350 nesting female Green turtles and about 2500 nesting female Loggerheads, the ecologists then empty the nests and carefully transplant the fragile eggs to one of five protected hatcheries along the coast. Some two months later, far removed from man-made obstacles and protected from their natural predators such as crabs, foxes and birds, the hatchlings make their race to the sea with the hope than more than 20 years later they will return to the same beach to ensure the species survival. (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)

    The South Florida man who was caught with over 120 sea turtle eggs in his backpack will be doing some hard time.

    Kenneth Coleman, 48, was sentenced to two and a half years behind bars Thursday, two months after he pleaded guilty to the crime.

    Coleman had dug up 123 eggs from the endangered animal on Riviera Beach last summer. He was charged with violating the endangered species act as well as resisting arrest and obstruction of justice.

    The eggs were later reburied in the hopes they would hatch. Authorities say they would be worth as much as $350 apiece on the black market.

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    In Fort Lauderdale, sea turtle advocates still struggle to get some beachfront buildings to cooperate with laws limiting light at night -- light that can be deadly for sea turtle hatchlings.
    (Published Saturday, Aug. 21, 2010)