Rare-Monkey Thief Brought to Justice

The police apprehended a 24-year-old man, Davion Irvin, suspected of stealing two emperor tamarin monkeys from the Dallas Zoo, authorities announced on Friday.

An employee at the Dallas World Aquarium recognized Irvin from circulated photos and reported him after he approached the employee with questions about an animal.

The employee recognized Irvin from prior news about the missing monkeys, according to a statement from aquarium spokesperson Waylon Tate.

After authorities were called, approaching officers spotted Irvin boarding a Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) train before he was taken into custody near the 1400 block of Pacific Avenue, Dallas police spokesperson Kristin Lowman said in a statement.

“The investigation into all cases at the zoo are ongoing and further charges are possible,” according to Lowman.

The emperor tamarin monkeys were reported stolen from their habitats at the Dallas Zoo on Monday.

Police credited tips from the public with leading them to the monkeys, Bella and Finn, who were found in the closet of an empty home in nearby Lancaster on Tuesday. The animals were not harmed, officials said.

Their disappearance was the latest in a string of suspicious incidents at the zoo. Investigators found an intentional cut in their habitat and previously said they believed they were taken.

Irvin has been charged with six counts of cruelty to nonlivestock animals in the tamarin monkey case, according to Lowman.

The suspect was booked into custody at 11:39 p.m. CT Thursday and held in lieu of $25,000 bail, jail records showed.

It wasn’t immediately clear Friday morning if Irvin had hired or been assigned a lawyer.

Friday’s police announcement did not link this arrest to the other suspicious incidents at the zoo.

On Jan. 21, a 35-year-old endangered vulture, Pin, was found dead with what authorities have described as an “unusual wound.” The animal’s cause of death has not been determined.

On Jan. 13, Nova, a 3-year-old clouded leopard, escaped her wire mesh enclosure after an incision was made in it, authorities have said. The cat, who the zoo said posed no danger to the public, was found later that day.

The zoo has tightened security measures, adding more overnight guards and cameras, and it offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and an indictment in the incidents, the spokeswoman said.

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