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Woman Accused Of Riding Sea Turtle At A Florida Beach Arrested

Months after a photo went viral on social media of a woman riding on the back of a sea turtle at Melbourne Beach, Florida, police have apprehended a suspect.

Since July, Stephanie Marie Moore, 20, has been wanted on a felony warrant for the possession, disturbance, mutilation, destruction, selling, transference, molestation, and harassment of marine turtles, nests, or eggs, CNN reports.

Melbourne Beach, where Moore and another as yet unknown woman took pictures riding the sea turtle, “is home to the most important sea turtle nesting habitat in the United States,” according to the Florida-based Sea Turtle Conservancy.

After the photo was shared on Snapchat and other social media channels, multiple complaints were made to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Melbourne police Sgt. Brian Hart said.

A criminal investigation was then opened by police and animal protection groups.

On Sept. 26, officers responding to a home disturbance recognized Moore from the photograph, The Daily Mail reports. She was detained on suspicion of molesting a marine turtle and is being held on a $2,000 bond.

If Moore is charged with animal cruelty, and it is determined that the animal is thought to have suffered unnecessary pain or suffering, it may be treated as a felony offense with up to a five-year prison sentence.

Sources: The Daily Mail, CNN / Photo credit: CNN


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