UPDATE: Beloved Animal Stolen From Controversial Florida Theme Park

in SeaWorld, Updates

Aerial view of SeaWorld Orlando featuring the park's high-speed coaster Mako and Kraken

Credit: SeaWorld

This week was an eventful one for one Orlando resident after their pet was stolen in broad daylight.

The words “SeaWorld” and “controversy” too often appear in the same sentence. Whether it’s SeaWorld Orlando, SeaWorld San Diego, or SeaWorld San Antonio, animal rights activists have drummed up ever-increasing dissent towards its properties due to its use of marine mammals for entertainment.

Killer whales during Orca Encounter at SeaWorld Orlando
Credit: SeaWorld

Related: Closure Update – Florida Theme Park Must Shut Forever as of Tomorrow, Government Says

For most guests, it’s the idea of killer whales (AKA orcas) being kept in captivity that’s particularly problematic. The documentary Blackfish (2013) cast SeaWorld as villains in the story of Tilikum, a killer whale involved in three separate fatal attacks on humans during his lifetime – something filmmakers have suggested was linked to his years in captivity.

Yet another animal controversy has hit the resort this week. This time, however, it has a much happier ending.

The front view of a Hilton Garden Inn hotel, showcasing a modern white building with a large entrance porch, surrounded by green trees and adorned with multiple flags.
Credit: Hilton

According to Orange County Sheriff’s Office, someone’s service dog was stolen directly from Hilton Garden Inn Orlando at SeaWorld – one of SeaWorld Orlando’s official hotels – at 1.30 p.m. yesterday (May 1).

“Please help us reunite Thor with his worried family!” the office wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter). “This afternoon (May 1) around 1:30 p.m., the vehicle pictured was stolen from the Hilton Garden Inn Orlando at SeaWorld (6850 Westwood Boulevard) with the owner’s service dog, Thor, inside.”

MISSING SERVICE DOG: Please help us reunite Thor with his worried family! This afternoon (May 1) around 1:30 p.m., the vehicle pictured was stolen from the Hilton Garden Inn Orlando at SeaWorld (6850 Westwood Boulevard) with the owner’s service dog, Thor, inside.

The stolen vehicle is a 2009 gray Kia Sorento with Florida tag LEXH94. The SUV has rear damage and peeling paint on the hood. Our detectives are doing everything possible to locate the car and bring Thor back safe. If you have any information that may help, please call 407-752-2697.

#PleaseShare

Thor’s owner, who Fox 35 named as Gloria, had reportedly parked her car at the SeaWorld hotel to take care of an errand. She had left the car running to make sure Thor was comfortable and cool in the heat. When she returned five minutes later, both the car and Thor were missing.

Fortunately, with nearby residents on the lookout, Thor was fortunately found just hours later. The dog was walking around a nearby apartment complex when someone recognized him from social media and contacted the sheriff’s office.

UPDATE: THOR IS SAFE! ❤️ We would like to thank our community for your help in the fast and safe recovery of Thor.

He was found walking around in an apartment complex a short distance away from the hotel where the car he was in was stolen this afternoon.

Someone who saw him called our detective after seeing our social media post. Thor is now reunited with his very grateful human!

“I assume that he just kept barking and they finally got tired and let him out,” Gloria told Fox 35. “He seemed to be overheated a little bit, but he is black, so the sun gets to him really quickly. But he was excited to finally see me.”

This isn’t the first time someone’s been the victim of theft near SeaWorld. In Texas, guests have frequently complained about cases of vehicular theft at SeaWorld San Antonio, with thousands of dollars worth of stolen property recovered after being stolen from the park in March 2024.

“Future travelers to San Antonio SeaWorld, please do not leave any valuables in your vehicle,” one guest warned on Tripadvisor. “They have [a] lack of security in parking areas & will not answer any questions as for security cameras in parking lots.”

A picturesque view of a fairy tale Cinderella Castle with spires, under a clear blue sky with the sun setting behind, casting a warm glow over the scene.
Credit: Disney

Related: UPDATE – Government Prepares To Confiscate Animals From Controversial Florida Theme Park

Theft is an ever-increasing issue in the Orlando theme park area, where many are in “vacation mode” and not necessarily as aware of their surroundings as they would be on their home turf.

Walt Disney World Resort guests have complained about increasing instances of theft in parking lots, while others have reported being pickpocketed in the parks themselves. Meanwhile, multiple tourists have complained about incidents at locations on International Drive, including a shooting in 2023 and an alleged human trafficking attempt at Universal’s Dockside Inn and Suites.

UPDATE (5/3): Orange County Sheriff’s Office has now arrested 18-year-old Emily Rose Modjeski on charges of Grand Theft Motor Vehicle after its auto theft unit spotted the car. 

Have you ever been the victim of theft in the Orlando theme park area? Let us know in the comments!

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