Friday, September 14, 2007

Police Nab Two In Theft Of Baby Monkey From Zoo

Zachary Chase GuidrozThe 6-month-old was missing for four days when an anonymous call came in, letting officials know she'd been abducted and where she was being held.

The mother, more than likely distraught, had never said a word, but the alarm went out when the infant was nowhere to be found Sunday.

Still, it wouldn't be until Wednesday that officials at the Zoo of Acadiana received the tip that led police to a pair of thieves who had taken a baby marmoset from its cage.

Emily Elizabeth Trosclair"I'm extremely disappointed that someone would take this animal from the zoo," said George Oldenburg, owner of the Zoo of Acadiana. "We never dreamed anyone would take it. I'm very upset about this."

The tip lead law enforcement officials to the home of 20-year-old Zachary Chase Guidroz of Lafayette. There, police found Guidroz with Emily Elizabeth Trosclair, 18, of Opelousas.

And the monkey allegedly was there too, in their custody.

"The monkey was recovered," Oldenburg said. "It seems to be fine."

He said the monkey, which didn't even have a name at the time of its abduction, was more than likely stolen Sunday evening.

However, zookeepers couldn't be sure the monkey was taken. For all they knew, the monkey, which weighs less than an egg, could have been eaten by a snake or hiding around its habitat.

"They're very small," Oldenburg said, "and they're not cheap."

The exhibit that housed the animal was roped off where patrons couldn't get close to the cage. Oldenburg can't figure out how someone could have stolen the monkey, and that disturbs him deeply, he said.

"It was still being nursed, and it was critical that we get it back fast," he said. "If it wasn't given the right diet, the monkey could've died. And there is a stress factor from it being removed from its parent and from its habitat to a new environment to consider, too."

Police Chief Brannon Decou said the pair confessed to stealing the monkey after their arrest. Decou said they didn't say why they stole it. The two were not previous employees of the zoo.

Trosclair and Guidroz have been charged with theft by Broussard police.

"It's like any other theft," Decou said. "It's just like stealing a TV or stealing a stereo."

The monkey has been reunited with its mother and is back safely in the Zoo of Acadiana.

Story here.

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