2 charged with stealing sea turtle eggs on Florida beach

FILE-In this photo taken Tuesday, July 9, 2013, Bill Ahern, a conservation specialist for the Miami-Dade County Parks, holds a loggerhead sea turtle egg on Haulover Beach in Miami. A Georgia man faces returning to prison after pleading guilty a second time to stealing the eggs of protected sea turtles. Lewis Jackson is scheduled to be sentenced by a federal judge on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015 for taking 48 eggs from a loggerhead sea turtle nest on Sapelo Island, GA. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) – Two men are accused of stealing hundreds of protected sea turtle eggs from nests on a Florida beach.

Federal court records show 60-year-old Carl Cobb and 50-year-old Raymond Saunders allegedly took more than 650 sea turtle eggs from nests on Hutchinson Island, which is north of West Palm Beach, intending to sell them. They could each face more than five years behind bars if convicted of Endangered Species Act and other violations.

The records show Cobb and Saunders both pleaded not guilty Friday in Fort Pierce federal court.

Prosecutors say a concerned citizen spotted the men disturbing turtle nests in May and contacted authorities. The recovered eggs were turned over to marine biologists who placed them back in the turtle nests in hopes some will hatch.

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