SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Isaac the ring-tailed lemur was back home relaxing at the Santa Ana Zoo Tuesday after he was stolen — then abandoned — over the weekend, and police are still looking for those involved in the caged Capuchin caper.
Police said late Friday, the thieves cut holes in the chain-link fences of two enclosures — one housed the lemur, and the other contained a pair of Capuchin monkeys.
Zoo Director Ethan Fisher told CBS2 News the latter stayed close to the enclosures. “They were just, sort of, going for a stroll,” chuckled Fisher.
Investigators received security video from the Newport Beach Marriott, where a person in a hoodie can be seen dropping off a box with the lemur inside before running away Saturday. The box was accompanied by a note reading, “This Belongs to the Santa Ana Zoo[.] [It] was taken last night[.] Please bring it to police[.]”
Despite the theft, the note seemed to be appreciated by some animal lovers.
“Disappointing to think that someone would do that, but we were glad to hear that he was OK,” Newport Beach resident Linda Lane told CBS2.
“They obviously didn’t want to leave it somewhere where somebody would abuse it or not turn it in, so that was pretty smart to do that after they had made a really bad choice of taking it,” said zoo patron Tara Wilson.
Isaac is 32 years old, making him the second oldest lemur in North America. His caretaker said he was doing well Tuesday.
“I think people see the animals, and they think they’re cuddly and cute, and they don’t realize how wild and how much work actually goes into them,” laughed Stephanie Holtz. “They belong with professionals.”
Though zoo staff are finding levity in the situation, since the animals are endangered, the break-in is considered a federal offense.