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Snakes in an SUV: Thief steals vehicle full of reptiles

He's known as "Wildman Phil" and makes his living traveling to schools and parties, educating kids on creepy, crawly reptiles and animals. But at a stop outside a Walmart in Englewood, Colorado, someone stole everything he had and - likely a little more than they expected.

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

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Inside his vehicle was 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 doesn't care about the things inside the car. What he wants back are 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've gotten 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.

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.

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