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Police nab suspect in Dallas Zoo monkey theft, leopard release

Authorities arrested a man on Thursday in connection with a string of bizarre incidents including theft of Dallas Zoo’s emperor tamarin monkeys and tampering with enclosures of a clouded leopard and langur monkeys, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

“Our investigation has determined that [Davion Irvin] is tied to those other [Dallas Zoo-related] cases. . .there’s still more possible charges,” Dallas police spokesperson Kristin Lowman said in a press conference Friday.

Davion Irvin, 24, was taken into custody at the Dallas World Aquarium near some animal exhibits, Lowman also said.

Authorities lodged Irvin at the Dallas County North Tower jail. His total bond was set at $25,000, the records also indicate.

Irvin is charged with six counts of animal cruelty (non-livestock) and two counts of burglary, according to Dallas County, Texas official records.

Police found the pair of emperor tamarin monkeys on Tuesday in a closet of an empty home in Lancaster, Texas, about 15 miles away from the Dallas Zoo, the New York Times reported. The monkeys were reported missing on Monday.

Dallas Police posted a photograph of one of the two monkeys inside the closet on Tuesday. The creature, with its distinctive, long, white “mustache” is seen perched on what appears to be a portion of a chain link fence leaning against a wall.

u201cDallas Police, with the help of the Lancaster Police Department, located the two missing tamarin monkeys from the Dallas Zoo at an abandoned home in Lancaster.nPictured is one of the animals still inside the closet of the house. nThe monkeys have been returned to the zoo.u201d

— Dallas Police Dept (@Dallas Police Dept)

Earlier on Tuesday, Dallas Police released a photograph of what appears to be Irvin. Authorities requested the public’s help in identifying him in connection with the missing tamarins.

u201cDallas Police are looking for the publicu2019s help in identifying the pictured individual. Detectives are looking to speak with the man in regard to the two tamarin monkeys missing from the Dallas Zoo.nAnyone with information- call 214-671-4509.u201d

— Dallas Police Dept (@Dallas Police Dept)

Dallas Zoo’s clouded leopard, Nova, went missing early in the morning on January 13, 2023. She was found later that afternoon, uninjured, near her enclosure. Police said in a press conference that day, they believed the cat’s enclosure had been intentionally cut, WFAA reported.

“Investigators looked at the area, and it is our belief this was an intentional act — and so we have started a criminal investigation,” Dallas Police Department’s Public Information Officer Sgt. Warren Mitchell said during the mid-January press conference.

Irvin has not been charged in connection with the “suspicious” death of Pin, a lappet-faced vulture. Pin was found dead in his pen on January 21, 2023, with what zoo officials said was a “wound,” WFAA also reported. Pin had been at the zoo for 33 years.

“The investigation into the vulture is still ongoing,” Lowman said at the press conference covering Irvin’s arrest. “[Irvin] has not been linked to that case at this time.”

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