By JAMIE STENGLE
DALLAS (AP) — The man charged in the taking of two emperor tamarin monkeys from the Dallas Zoo has also been charged in two other recent incidents there involving holes that were cut in animal enclosure fences, authorities said Friday.
Davion Irvin, 24, has been charged with two counts of burglary to a building in connection with the cutting of the enclosure fences for a clouded leopard and langur monkeys, police spokeswoman Kristin Lowman said during a news conference. The langur monkeys didn’t escape and weren’t harmed. The leopard did but was later found safe near its pen.
Lowman said police were still investigating whether there’s any connection to the suspicious death of an endangered vulture at the zoo.
“The last month has been an emotional rollercoaster for the team here at Dallas Zoo,” Harrison Edell, the zoo’s executive vice president for animal care and conservation, said at the news conference.
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 tamarin monkeys went missing Monday and a cut was found in their enclosure’s fencing.
After getting a tip, police found the small monkeys named Bella and Finn on Tuesday 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 later 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.
“We do believe that (Irvin) was looking to commit another crime,” Lowman said at the news conference.
The missing monkeys were the latest in a string of unusual events at the zoo over the past few weeks, including other enclosure fences that were cut and the death of the vulture.
The mysterious events at the zoo began on Jan. 13, when arriving workers found that the clouded leopard named Nova was missing from her cage, and police said that a cutting tool had been 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 he declined to give further details.
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