Court documents reveal how Dallas police tracked zoo suspect

DALLAS (NewsNation) — Following a spate of suspicious activity at the Dallas Zoo over the past few weeks, new court documents revealed how police were able to track down the 24-year-old suspect who allegedly stole two monkeys.

Police identified the suspect as 24-year-old Davion Irvin, who, according to the documents, allegedly confessed to stealing the monkeys, telling police that he’d try to steal more animals if he ever gets out of jail.

Police arrested Irvin last week in connection to the missing monkeys after he was seen asking questions at a downtown Dallas aquarium about animals there. Irvin allegedly told investigators he tried to steal a clouded leopard and was unsuccessful, the arrest warrant affidavit said.

His bond was set at $130,000.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, zoo employees first noticed Irvin when he was asking questions about the monkeys and tigers. Tipsters had also spotted Irvin at the Dallas World Aquarium last week.

Irvin allegedly told police he had broken into the zoo several times before.

Records revealed that Irvin told police he waited for nightfall before hopping the zoo fence and cutting open the enclosure.

He was successful in taking the two emperor tamarin monkeys Bella and Finn, saying he rode home with them on the city’s light rail system.

He allegedly said he took the two monkeys 17 miles away to a boarded-up, vacant home next to a church where he was later recognized by tipsters.

“They actually got on a DART train and sat with him calmly on the train,” tipster Winter Ross said.

Ross said she called the police after her husband recognized Irvin at his father’s church. Ross and her husband said they suspected Irvin was the same guy breaking into their vacant home where they stored the church furniture.

Police later discovered the two monkeys inside a closet at Ross’ vacant home. Cats and pigeons were also found in the home along with supplies from the otter exhibit and shoes that match the ones in the police photo, court documents revealed.

Ross said she was stunned.

“Wow, this is really happening. I was so relieved. I don’t think what people realize is if I hadn’t called, the temps dropped, those monkeys would not have lasted through that kind of temperature,” Ross said.

The arrest came after a string of similar incidents in the last month at the Dallas Zoo.

A clouded leopard that went missing was found Jan. 13 after a daylong search, and officials said they found evidence that the cat’s habitat had been intentionally cut. They also revealed that cuts had been made in a monkey habitat.

Aside from the missing animals, an endangered lappet-faced vulture was found dead in its enclosure with a wound that zoo officials described as “not natural.” The investigation into that incident is ongoing, and investigators said Irvin is not connected to the vulture.

Efforts to reach his attorney were not successful.

NewsNation reached out to the Dallas Zoo regarding the $25,000 reward that was posted but has not heard back.

Since Irvin’s arrest, a similar vandalism incident occurred at the Houston Zoo where officials say a pelican enclosure was deliberately cut. In a statement, officials said zoo keepers noticed a 4-inch gap in the mesh of the enclosure on Monday.

No animals escaped, but the zoo said it will prosecute whoever is responsible to the fullest extent. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.


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