Monday, November 21, 2011

Palm Coast Monkey Shot With Tranquilizer Dart Flees Police

loose monkey
Flagler County's latest fugitive threw a bit of a monkey wrench at law enforcement Sunday.

A rhesus monkey perched in a tree fended off capture for six hours and then gave officers the slip.

Joyce Ramirez, a Palm Coast resident, saw the monkey in a patch of woods at the corner of Colorado Drive and Covington Lane. She reported it to law enforcement about 9:30 a.m.

She spotted the monkey at eye level, but it soon scurried up to the top of the tallest tree it could find.

"I've seen deer," said Ramirez, who moved to Flagler County from New Jersey. "I've seen snakes. But a monkey? You've got to be kidding me."

Ramirez tried to coax the primate to the ground with cantaloupe and bread, but it chose to stay in the tree, much to the chagrin of law enforcement watching helplessly on the ground.

Authorities weren't monkeying around with the rhesus. During the standoff, two animal control trucks, two sheriff's squad cars, a sheriff's sport utility vehicle and a truck from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were parked near the primate. A Palm Coast fire department ladder truck arrived just before the monkey escaped.

Animal control hit the monkey with a tranquilizer dart, but officers could not find a way to safely get the groggy primate out of the tree.

Once the sedative wore off, the monkey made a dash for freedom. Officers chased it about a block to Colchester Lane, where it was last seen.

With the monkey alert and on the move, authorities conceded defeat and called off the chase.

Mike Lagana, a corporal with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, was one of the first officers to arrive. Lagana said he never could have anticipated spending his day staking out a monkey.

"It's always something new," Lagana said during a break in the action. "It's what makes you want to come to work."

This is the first time a monkey has been reported on the lam in Palm Coast, Lagana said.

Authorities suspect the primate might have come from a troop of wild rhesus monkeys that lives in Ocala's Silver Springs State Park.


Full story here.
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