Dallas Zoo investigation: Police make arrest in missing monkeys case

An arrest has been made in the investigation into two tamarin monkeys taken from the Dallas Zoo.

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Davion Irvin, 24, is in police custody, charged with several counts of animal cruelty-non-livestock and is being held in the Dallas County Jail, CNN reported.

Police said they were tipped off that Irvin was connected to the kidnapping of the monkeys, WFAA reported.

Irvin was spotted at the Dallas World Aquarium near an animal habitat looking at the mesh enclosures, the television station reported.

Police said security cameras at the Dallas Zoo had captured video of Irvin near where the monkeys were housed.

The monkeys were stolen on Monday. By Tuesday they were found in an empty house near Lancaster, Texas, that was owned by a church, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

The building is about 15 miles from the Dallas Zoo, CNN reported.

The church pastor’s daughter, Tonya Thomas, said that parishioners recognized Irvin in the video, saying that he was seen in the neighborhood and would attend services at their new church.

Thomas’ father called the police, telling them that they should check their old church building that was being renovated into a community center. There had been several break-ins at the building, WFAA reported.

When police checked out the location, they said they found birds, cats and other small animals.

When officers searched the building on Tuesday, they found the two monkeys in a closet where the temperature had been 37 degrees. Police are still not sure how the monkeys were taken out of the zoo and into the building in Lancaster, CNN reported.

The primates, which are native to the southwest Amazon Basin, were put into quarantine after their adventure. They had lost a bit of weight while they had been missing, but didn’t show any signs of injuries, zoo officials said on Facebook.

Before the emperor tamarin monkeys were taken, there were several incidents over the past few weeks at the zoo, The Associated Press reported.

On Jan. 13, a clouded leopard got out of her enclosure after her cage was cut. She was found hours later on the zoo grounds.

Then on Jan. 21, an endangered vulture was found dead, the AP reported.