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'Wildman Phil's' Suburban full of reptiles recovered

4:15 PM, Oct 18, 2012   |    comments
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The vehicle was recovered at the corner of Tennyson and Quitman streets in Denver.

Someone stole everything Phil had and likely a little more than they expected on Wednesday.

Phil Rakoci stopped at the Englewood Walmart around 5 p.m. Wednesday and went inside to get some supplies. He says he had to leave the vehicle running to keep the reptiles warm. When he came out 20 minutes later, his Suburban was gone.

Inside his vehicle were a 3-legged, 50-pound African tortoise named Stumpy; a 13-foot Burmese python, a rattlesnake, five non-poisonous snakes, three scorpions, five lizards, two turtles, one gecko, and one tarantula, along with Rakoci's personal belongings.

"Wildman" Phil says he didn't care about the things inside the car. What he wanted back was his animals.

"They're not just props, they're live animals. They know me. I know them," he said. "It's pretty tough. I don't care; keep the Suburban, the stuff in it. I just want to get the animals back and have them live through this."

Rakoci says the thief may not immediately be able to tell what they got themselves into. Many of his animals are kept in solid, gray tubs.

Rakoci was set to present at a local elementary school Thursday but had to cancel. He was headed to Nebraska later in the week.

Police found the vehicle, including all of Phil's friends, Thursday morning. All the animals are said to be safe. No suspect was apprehended during the discovery.

Englewood Police say they are looking for a blue 1999 GMC van with Arizona License Plate "TEDDIJO." There are several logos on the back of the van.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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