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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Dec. 6, 2023

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Police: Man arrested in taking of monkeys from Dallas Zoo

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This image provided by Dallas County Jail shows Davion Irvin. Dallas police say Irvin, has been arrested, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in the case of the two monkeys that were taken from the Dallas Zoo after he was spotted near the animal exhibits at an aquarium in the city.
This image provided by Dallas County Jail shows Davion Irvin. Dallas police say Irvin, has been arrested, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in the case of the two monkeys that were taken from the Dallas Zoo after he was spotted near the animal exhibits at an aquarium in the city. (Dallas County Jail via AP) Photo Gallery

DALLAS (AP) — A 24-year-old man has been arrested in the taking of the two monkeys from the Dallas Zoo, police said Friday, adding that he was taken into custody after being spotted near animal exhibits at the city’s aquarium.

Davion Irvin was arrested Thursday on six counts of animal cruelty — three each for the two emperor tamarin monkeys that were taken, police said. His bail was set at $25,000 and jail records didn’t list an attorney for him.

The monkeys went missing Monday and a cut was found in their enclosure’s fencing. It was the latest in a string of unusual events at the zoo over the past few weeks, including other enclosure fences that were cut, the escape of a small leopard and the suspicious death of an endangered vulture.

Police said their investigation was ongoing and that further charges were possible.

After getting a tip, police found the small monkeys named Bella and Finn the day after they were taken. They were in the closet of a vacant home south of the zoo.

Earlier this week, police released a photo and a video taken from the zoo of a man they said they wanted to speak with about the missing monkeys.

Police said Friday that they arrested Irvin after receiving a tip that he had been seen near the animal exhibits at The Dallas World Aquarium. Responding officers saw him boarding the city’s light rail, and then spotted him a few blocks away, police said. He was then taken to police headquarters for questioning.

Waylon Tate, an aquarium spokesperson, said Irvin had stopped an employee to ask questions about one the aquarium’s animals, and the employee recognized him from the coverage of the missing monkeys.

The mysterious events at the zoo began on Jan. 13, when arriving workers found that a clouded leopard named Nova was missing from her cage, and police said that a cutting tool had been intentionally used to make an opening in her enclosure. The zoo closed as a search for her got underway, and she was found later that day near her habitat.

Zoo workers had also found a similar gash in an enclosure for langur monkeys, though none got out or appeared harmed, police said.

On Jan. 21, workers arriving at the zoo found an endangered lappet-faced vulture named Pin dead. Gregg Hudson, the zoo’s president and CEO, called the death “very suspicious” and said the vulture had “a wound,” but declined to give further details.

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