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Man arrested in Dallas Zoo monkey thefts indicted on felony burglary charges

A grand jury indicted Davion Irvin, 24, on two counts of burglary in the break-in and thefts of the monkeys in January.

DALLAS — The man accused of breaking into the Dallas Zoo and stealing two monkeys has been indicted on felony burglary charges, according to court records.

A grand jury indicted Davion Irvin, 24, on two counts of burglary in the break-in and thefts of the monkeys in January. Irvin also faces six misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty in the case, according to jail records.

The monkeys, who are emperor tamarin monkeys, went missing from the zoo in late January. Zoo officials said their animal care team found the primates missing from their habitat, which "had been intentionally compromised."

Later the next day, on Jan. 31, the monkeys were found inside a closet at an abandoned building in Lancaster. A tipster alerted police to the possibility of monkeys being inside the building, which had been the subject of a previous investigation involving exotic animals being kept there.

The monkeys, named Bella and Finn, were found uninjured and were returned home to the zoo.

Two days later, Irvin was arrested after someone reported to police that he was at the Dallas World Aquarium and checking out the mesh enclosures there. Police were wanting to speak with Irvin about the zoo incident after surveillance video showed him near where the monkeys disappeared.

Credit: Dallas County Jail
Davion Dwight Irvin.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Irvin told police that he took the monkeys from the zoo and then onto a DART train as he fled the area.

Irvin told police that he loves animals and that he would steal more, if he was released from jail, the affidavit said.

Irvin remains in the Dallas County jail with his total bond set at $130,000.

The theft of the monkeys capped a tumultuous start to the year for the zoo.

On Jan. 21, an endangered vulture was found dead from a "suspicious" wound, which is under investigation.

The police department was also investigating fencing that appeared to be intentionally cut at the habitats for the clouded leopards and Langur monkeys. One of the clouded leopards, Nova, escaped on Friday, Jan. 13, and was eventually found on the zoo grounds.

Police said they’ve linked Irvin to the cutting of an enclosure for langur monkeys, discovered after Nova went missing, but he hasn’t been charged in that. None of the langur monkeys escaped.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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