EAST SAN JOSE, California — A man who had been arrested for seriously injuring a decades-old tortoise at a California preschool, was busted again after returning to the school holding a brick shortly after being released from jail.
The director of the Play ‘N’ Learn Preschool in East San Jose chased George Robles off the school’s property just minutes before students were set to arrive Monday morning.
“I was terrified. I saw the guy, the same guy, run out from the side gate,” Yvonne Co told the San Jose Mercury News. “He should not have been released after something like this. That’s insane. What could he do next to anyone else?”
He was picked up several hours later by a police mental health crisis team.
Robles, who is homeless, was busted on Saturday after attacking the tortoise, an African sulcata named Michelangelo, that the preschool acquired from a rescue program four years ago and kept in a large enclosed garden.
Michelangelo underwent surgery Saturday to repair cracks in its shell and remove shards of wood from a fencepost and glass from flood lamps that had been embedded in its flesh. Veterinarians say the nearly 70-year-old tortoise is recovering.
Authorities could not immediately explain why Robles was released so quickly, but county jails have been reluctant to hold as many offenders due to Covid-19 concerns.
Robles has also been charged with burglary for an earlier breakin at the school in which several iPads were stolen.