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Police: Man arrested in taking of monkeys from Dallas Zoo

by Jamie Stengle, The Associated Press | February 3, 2023 at 10:57 a.m.
This image provided by Dallas County Jail shows Davion Irvin. Dallas police say Irvin was arrested Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in the theft of two monkeys from the Dallas Zoo after he was spotted near the animal exhibits at an aquarium in the city. (Dallas County Jail via AP)

DALLAS -- A 24-year-old man has been arrested in the case of the two monkeys taken from the Dallas Zoo after he was spotted near animal exhibits at an aquarium in the city, police said Friday.

Davion Irvin was arrested Thursday and was charged with six counts of animal cruelty, Dallas police said. Jail records, which don't list an attorney for him, indicate that he faces five charges of animal cruelty and that his bail was set at $25,000.

The reason for the discrepancy between police and the jail in the number of charges was not immediately clear.

When the monkeys went missing Monday and a cut was found in their enclosure, 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 is ongoing and that further charges are 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 had 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 Irvin was arrested after they got a tip that he'd been seen near the animal exhibits at The Dallas World Aquarium downtown.

Police said responding officers saw him getting onto the city's light rail, and then spotted him a few blocks away. He was then taken to police headquarters for questioning.

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.

photo This image provided by Dallas County Jail shows Davion Irvin. Dallas police say Irvin was arrested Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in the theft of two monkeys from the Dallas Zoo after he was spotted near the animal exhibits at an aquarium in the city. (Dallas County Jail via AP)
photo This photo provided by the Dallas Zoo shows emperor tamarin monkeys Bella and Finn at the zoo on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. The disappearance Monday, Jan. 30 of the monkeys and the discovery that their enclosure had been cut were the latest in a string of odd events at the zoo over the last few weeks, which has included other cut fences, the escape of a small leopard and the suspicious death of an endangered vulture. The two small monkeys, who were found in an abandoned house Tuesday, Jan. 31, after being taken from the Dallas Zoo, lost a bit of weight during their ordeal but show no signs of injury, the zoo said Wednesday. (Dallas Zoo via AP)

Print Headline: Police: Man arrested in taking of monkeys from Dallas Zoo

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