Dallas, TX

Man Arrested for Stealing Monkeys from Dallas Zoo


A Texas man has been arrested in connection with three strange incidents at the Dallas Zoo, including the stealing of monkeys.

On February 2, 2023, Dallas Police arrested Davion Irvin, 24 years old, in connection with the case involving emperor tamarin monkeys at the Dallas Zoo. He has been charged with six counts of animal cruelty (non-livestock) and two counts of burglary.

Law & Crime reported that in the first zoo incident, a clouded leopard escaped its enclosure on January 13 and was reported missing for several hours. Authorities reported that the enclosure's fence had been purposefully cut after the animal was discovered and returned to its natural habitat.

The mesh surrounding the tamarin monkey habitat was then discovered to be cut on Monday, and two of the tiny animals were found to be missing. The following day, the two monkeys—named Bella and Finn—were discovered secure inside a closet in an abandoned Lancaster house, about 15 miles from the zoo.

Irvin is depicted in a photo released by the authorities at the zoo holding a bag of Doritos, indicating that he is a person of interest in the disappearance of the monkeys.

According to a news release, Dallas police located Irvin after receiving information that someone had seen him close to the animal exhibits at the Dallas World Aquarium, which is close to the Dallas Zoo.

According to Fox News, Dallas World Aquarium employee, Paula Carlson, followed Irvin while he was at the aquarium and engaged him in conversation.

Carlson said, "[He] certainly met the description. Looked almost exactly like the person that I've seen posted online."

"He was asking me questions about the animals, and I was answering them, you know, showing him the animals, the shark, the octopus. Just trying to maintain a conversation while I was maintaining a text message with our security people here," she continued.

Carlson called the zoo, and they called the police after Irvin exited the aquarium.

Officers pursued him on Pacific Avenue after spotting him boarding a DART train. He was caught and taken to the police department's main office to be questioned.

According to an affidavit obtained by the Dallas Morning News, investigators claimed that Irvin had been inquiring about the procedures for housing and transporting animals, including tamarin monkeys, several days before the animals vanished.

Meanwhile, Gregg Hudson, the President and CEO of the Dallas Zoo, has vowed to never let this happen again during a news conference on Friday.

He said: "It’s been an unbelievable three weeks for all of us here at the zoo. It’s unprecedented what’s happened here. Our job is not finished. We are focused on preventing this from ever happening again."

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