Gulf Breeze, Florida (PNJ) -- Tom the turkey had lived happily on Brian and Christa Caponi's 6-acre spread in Gulf Breeze for the past year along with their menagerie of cats, goats, a dog, chickens and roosters.
He was special among their 50 or so animals, Christa said.
"He was a family pet," she said. "It was like having a normal family dog."
But when her husband got up early Monday morning to feed the animals, the 30-pound Tom was missing.
He soon discovered a trail of blood and feathers and feared the worst.
Then, upon looking at a recording from a security camera on the property, he saw one man stealing Tom and another running along the fence line.
Monday, two Santa Rosa County men, one of them a neighbor, were charged with stealing the bird and using a bow and arrow to kill it.
Santa Rosa County sheriff's deputies arrested Joshua W. Anderson, 19, and Jacob H. Provo, 18, who live near the Caponis. They are charged with armed burglary, armed trespassing, theft of livestock and animal cruelty.
They admitted that they planned to eat Tom for Thanksgiving and were on the way to butcher it when they were arrested.
Some of Tom's feathers were found in a shed on the Caponis' property. His body was found in the back of Provo's pickup.
"It's been a very rough two days," Christa said.
Tom will be missed, she said.
"He was so friendly," she said.
Brian Caponi told deputies he suspected Provo because his pickup had been parked on Ocean Breeze Lane near the Caponi residence. While Provo lived on Ocean Breeze, there was no reason for him to be near their home at the dead-end of the road, he said.
Deputies investigated the tip and stopped Provo, who was driving the pickup in the area Monday afternoon. Anderson was with him in the truck.
Provo initially told a deputy that he had killed the bird in Milton, according to the report.
But after questioning, Provo told deputies that he had entered the Caponis' property armed with a bow and arrow. He said he went into the pen where Tom was and shot him with an arrow, the arrest report said.
Anderson told officers that he was accompanying Provo when the turkey was killed, the report said.
The men are in the Santa Rosa County jail on bonds of $57,000.
The Caponis expect to have a tough Thanksgiving.
"My husband and I are big animal lovers," Christa said. "Our animals are very close to us."
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