Dallas Police Makes Arrest in Stolen Monkeys Case

By Victor Josifovski

National/World Editor

The Dallas Police Department arrested twenty-four year old Davion Irvin on Feb. 2 for the suspected theft of two emperor tamarin monkeys from the Dallas Zoo. While currently facing six counts of animal cruelty for the monkeys, authorities have also linked Irvin to the release of a clouded leopard, the death of a vulture, and tampering that occurred at a langur monkey enclosure. 

The arrest helps the Dallas Zoo partially solve a bizarre sequence of events in recent weeks, the first being when zoo employees reported the clouded leopard, Nova, missing from her enclosure on Jan.13. Authorities later found the leopard nearby after an extensive search involving a SWAT team and several drones. In the following weeks, employees observed cuts and openings in the enclosures of langur monkeys, and zoo employees found a thirty-five-year-old vulture named Pin dead with an “unusual wound.” Finally, on Jan. 30, two emperor tamarin monkeys went missing; authorities found them the next day in the closet of a home nearly fifteen miles away from the zoo. The string of events led Dallas Zoo President and CEO Gregg Hudson to describe the situation as an “unbelievable three weeks here for us at the zoo,” lamenting that “it’s unprecedented what’s happened here.” 

After a security camera captured Irvin walking through the zoo, police released an advisory image to the public in search of both Irvin and the monkeys. Jeremy Ross, the son of a pastor in the town of Lancaster, recognized Irvin, who attends his father’s church and squats in an abandoned home nearby. After Ross passed this information along to the police, authorities searched the abandoned home and found the two tamarin monkeys, Finn and Bella, alive in a closet.

Police did not apprehend Irvin himself until a few days later, when an employee from the Dallas World Aquarium tipped police, indicating that a man who fit Irvin’s description was examining the Aquarium enclosures. Police arrested Irvin and took him to Dallas County Jail on a $25,000 bond. 

With the return of the two monkeys and the arrest of Irvin, the employees at the Dallas Zoo felt a collective sigh of relief. As they recover from the string of abuses upon the zoo and its animals, employees also have to care for the animals through ice storms that recently covered Texas and forced closure of the zoo. In the wake of crimes, the zoo has also affirmed its commitment to create a more robust security system to combat potential future transgressions. 


(Sources: Associated Press, CNN, NBC News, NY Times, Reuters)


Categories: National, News

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