Arrest made in connection with 2 monkeys taken from Dallas Zoo, police say
Feb. 3, 2023 Updated Fri., Feb. 3, 2023 at 1:39 p.m.
DALLAS — A man was arrested in connection with two emperor tamarin monkeys that were taken from the Dallas Zoo this week after being spotted near animal exhibits at the Dallas World Aquarium, police say.
Davion Irvin, 24, was booked into the Dallas county jail Thursday night, according to jail records. Irvin faces six charges of animal cruelty in connection to the monkey case, police said. Jail records show five charges with his bail set at $25,000. It is unclear if he has an attorney.
Police said officers received a tip Thursday that he was seen at the aquarium . Then, the officers saw Irvin get onto a DART rail, later spotting him in the 1400 block of Pacific Avenue before taking him to police headquarters for questioning, police said.
The investigation, along with help from the public identified him as the man police were looking for, believed to have information about the missing monkeys at the zoo, police said.
The two emperor tamarin monkeys, Bella and Finn, were unaccounted for in their habitat Monday morning, according to zoo officials, who said it was immediately “clear the habitat had been intentionally compromised.” Police said the habitat was cut.
On Tuesday, the Dallas Zoo said the two emperor tamarin monkeys taken from their enclosure were found alive in Lancaster.
The animals were found hours after police asked for the public’s help identifying a man believed to have information about the monkeys. The department shared surveillance images of a man and said detectives were looking to speak with him and said “he is not a person of interest currently.”
Police said Tuesday evening they received a tip the monkeys might be in an abandoned home in Lancaster, and they found the monkeys in a closet at that location. Members of a Lancaster church led authorities to the home where the monkeys were found Tuesday, the family who runs the church told The Dallas Morning News.
Tonya Thomas, whose father is the pastor of the Family Center Church of God in Christ in Lancaster, said two monkeys missing from the Dallas Zoo were found inside their community house, next door to the church, after her family tipped off Dallas police.
She said police also found other animals inside the home, including birds, cats and possibly chickens. The house, in the 2500 block of Gerry Way Street just south of Wintergreen Road, is about 20 minutes from the Dallas Zoo.
The arrest is the latest development in the mystery at the Dallas Zoo that has deepened over the last several weeks. It follows a string of incidents, including other missing animals, torn enclosures and the unusual death of an endangered vulture. Police said further charges for Irvin are possible as the investigation into the incidents at the zoo continues.
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