After weeks of searching for the suspect behind a bizarre string of animal disappearances from the Dallas Zoo, one Texas man has been brought into custody. According to The Associated Press, he told police he would steal more animals if released from jail.
Davion Irvin, 24, was arrested when he showed up at the Dallas World Aquarium asking about the animals there, according to the report. Tips from the public implicated Irvin in the theft of two emperor tamarin monkeys who disappeared from the Dallas Zoo last month. He allegedly jumped the zoo’s fence after hours, cut the metal enclosure of the monkeys’ habitat and took them home. Witnesses who later spotted him riding the city’s light rail reported the sighting to the cops.
The two monkeys, Bella and Finn, are allegedly the latest addition to Irvin’s collection of stolen animals, which included five cats and 12 pigeons that were more than likely swiped off the street. Irvin also admitted to trying to take home a clouded leopard named Nova that went missing for a few hours after he freed her from her habitat on January 13. He didn’t complete his mission because he couldn’t get close to her.
According to the affidavit, days before each enclosure cutting or animal escape, Irvin would ask the handlers detailed questions about the animals’ temperaments or even where the animals came from. Court documents didn’t specify his motives. All he said is that he loved animals.
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Police described the home to be in “extreme poor condition” with suspected cat feces, building material debris, mold and/or mildew and dead animals — including goldfish that were believed to have been stolen from the zoo. In the specific area where the monkeys were found, police said there were bird feces and feathers, along with wet, moldy pieces of clothing.
There was no access to outside light or air, the affidavits say.
They also found shoes that matched those worn by the man at the zoo in the photo that DPD released, and items that went missing from the staff-only area of the zoo’s otter exhibit — including unreported thefts of “feeder fish, water chemicals, fish flake food and training supplies,” according to the affidavits.
These oddities would make a little more sense if (and only if) he was one of those anti-zoo activists who believe animals outside their natural habitats are in danger. Otherwise, this energy could have been placed into rescuing animals or adopting them from shelters. Even so, the conditions of his home don’t suggest they’d be in safe hands.
Authorities say Irvin’s bond is set at $25,000. It’s unclear where the other animals will go upon his detainment.