San Francisco – Police said Friday they arrested a man suspected of stealing round-tailed lemurs from the San Francisco Zoo, as officials rewarded a five-year-old boy who helped restore the endangered primates with a lifetime membership.
The robbery of Mackie, a 21-year-old arthritis lemur, made headlines on Wednesday in San Francisco and beyond when zoo officials reported the animal’s loss and found evidence of forced entry into its barn.
Five-year-old James Trane was unaware of the headlines when he left his kindergarten Thursday in Dali, about 5 miles from the zoo, and shouted, “There is a lemur! There is a lemur!” Said Cynthia Huang, principal of Hope Lutheran School. Daily, for the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday.
Huang was skeptical at first. “I thought, Are you sure it’s not a raccoon?” She said.
Maki drove from the parking lot to the school playground and took refuge in a miniature game house, where the school called the police, who quickly alerted animal and zoo officials. Huang said children, parents and teachers watched their caregivers arrive and put lemurs in a transport cage.
Also on Thursday, police arrested 30-year-old Cory McGillway, San Francisco Police Lt. Scott Ryan told reporters on Friday.
McGillway, who investigators identified as a suspect in the lemur kidnapping, was arrested Thursday night by San Rafael Police on unrelated charges. Ryan said he was expected to be transferred to the San Francisco County Jail to be held on charges of burglary, major animal theft, looting and vandalism, all of which relate to lemur theft.
Police did not provide further details, saying that the investigation is still ongoing, but praised the efforts of multiple agencies and guidance on a public information line that led to the arrest of the suspect.
Tania Peterson, director of the San Francisco Zoo, said Mackie is “an old wild animal that needs special care” for diseases including arthritis. She added: “He is still raging, dry and hungry,” adding that the veterinary teams are working to restore him to his health. Due to his travels, she added, “he is socially distancing himself from his main family,” but it is hoped that he will join other lemurs soon.
Authorities have offered a reward of $ 2,100 for locating McKee, which the zoo will award to the church.
“I understand there was a little boy who witnessed this and also called up classified information,” said Peterson, who thanked the boy and everyone who helped him. “We’re giving his family a free zoo membership.” “They literally saved a life.”
Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.