The Dallas Zoo has been on the lookout for missing animals, and now police say they've arrested a 24-year-old suspect for stealing two monkeys from the facility.
Davion Irvin allegedly told investigators he recently waited until dark to jump a fence to get onto zoo grounds and then cut the metal mesh of an enclosure so he could take two emperor tamarin monkeys, CBS News reported.
After the theft, Irvin took the city’s light rail before walking to a vacant home in Lancaster, a Dallas suburb about 15 miles from the zoo., where he said he kept his animals, according to police.
Acting on a tip, on Jan. 31, the Dallas Police Department located the monkeys, named Bella and Finn, at the house.
While at the property, police said they also found multiple cats and pigeons as well as dead feeder fish and fish food that was missing from the staff-only area of the zoo but wasn’t reported stolen at the time, CBS News reported.
Irvin was charged with one count of burglary and six counts of animal cruelty, three for each monkey. He also faces a burglary charge for the escape of a clouded leopard named Nova that went missing on Jan. 13.
Police believe Irvin is responsible for damage to an enclosure for langur monkeys, but none of the monkeys escaped and he has not been charged in connection with that incident..
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Before the emperor tamarin monkeys disappeared, zoo staff was reportedly suspicious of a man who was asking questions about moving and caring for the monkeys and curious about the clouded leopard that had escaped. Zoo employees also spotted the man entering staff buildings near the monkeys’ enclosure.
Police released photos and videos of the man, which prompted the tip that led police to the vacant home. The caller recognized the man believed to be Irvin from the images as someone who frequented the vacant residence that's owned by a local church, police said.
Irvin was arrested and was being held on a $25,000 bond. Court documents show the suspect insisted he loves animals and that if he were to be released from custody, he would likely steal more, CBS News reported.
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