Man arrested over Dallas zoo monkey kidnap planned further thefts – police

<span>Photograph: Dallas Zoo/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Dallas Zoo/Reuters

A man arrested on charges related to mysterious incidents at the Dallas zoo planned to return to the zoo and steal more animals if released from jail, according to arrest warrant records.

The documents, obtained by the Dallas Morning News, revealed how 24-year-old Davion Irvin allegedly broke into the zoo and kidnapped two monkeys after breaking their enclosure. The emperor tamarin monkeys – Bella and Finn – were later found alive in a vacant house in nearby Lancaster on 1 February.

Irvin has been charged with six counts of animal cruelty and two counts of burglary.

The taking of the monkeys was, however, just one of a string of odd incidents involving animals at the zoo, which perplexed police and zoo authorities and created headlines around the world.

The enclosures of various animals were intentionally cut open. A clouded leopard named Nova escaped on 13 January. Before that incident, the langur monkey enclosure was also compromised, although none escaped. A lappet-faced vulture named Pin also died on 21 January under “very suspicious” circumstances.

The arrest documents also allege Irvin was acting “odd” in the days leading up to the monkey abduction. He allegedly asked “obscure questions” about where the zoo got the monkeys from and what to do if they acted aggressively. He also allegedly asked questions about other zoo animals such as birds and tigers.

Prior to the monkey-napping, Irvin was asked to leave the zoo after being seen entering an area reserved only for staff. He was followed around by a zoo employee until he left.

According to the documents published by the News, Irvin allegedly told police that he jumped a fence on the Clarendon Drive side of the zoo after nightfall and then went to the monkey exhibit, where he “cut the metal mesh, went through the door, cut the enclosure where the monkeys were in and took them”.

Irvin’s image was circulated by police on social media and a reward was offered for any information leading to his arrest. He was eventually spotted at the Dallas World Aquarium, where a police spokesperson said they believed he was about to commit another crime.

Irvin remains at the Dallas county jail. His bail is set at $25,000.