Man accused of stealing frog from attorney's office

Posted: Updated:
HEMPSTEAD -

A Long Island man is accused of stealing an African tree frog from an attorney's office.

Thomas Liotti's office manager alerted him Wednesday morning that the frog his office staff took care of for more than 22 years disappeared. They searched all over for the frog, named Owen, but to no avail.

Liotti then thought a man who came in to try to meet with him may have taken Owen.

"He came in…he was milling around in the office and when I came in to tell him, 'are you expecting someone'…he was already out," Liotti says.

After several attempts to reach the man by phone, Liotti looked at the building's surveillance video, in which he saw the man, identified by police as 33-year old Fernando Castro.

"I go downstairs and check the surveillance videos and sure enough…there's Fernando walking out with this bowl and the frog," he says.

Police later arrested Castro and, according to court documents, he confessed to taking the frog. Those documents state that in his confession, Castro said he dropped off the frog at another attorney's office as a gift. But Liotti says they didn't know what to make of it and released the frog in a nearby creek.

The frog is still missing, and Liotti says he fears for its survival.

Castro was charged with petit larceny. A judge set his bail at $500.

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