Louisiana police wonder: Are missing monkey cases related?

(NewsNation) — Monkey business at two zoos is under investigation.

Two missing monkeys from the Dallas Zoo were recently found in an abandoned home. Plus, a total of 12 squirrel monkeys were stolen from a Louisiana zoo. Could the cases be related?

Broussard, Louisiana Police Chief Vance Oliver says it’s a possibility investigators are looking into right now.

“I think that there may be some possibility they are related. We are in contact with Dallas Police Department with their detective division,” Oliver said in an interview with NewsNation host Leland Vittert. “We tried to see if a possible suspect is the same as the one in Dallas.”

Dallas investigators have not detailed a possible connection at this time. The Dallas Zoo has recently faced a number of issues, including an escaped snow leopard, the suspicious death of an endangered vulture and two missing monkeys.

Dallas police found the two missing tamarin monkeys Tuesday evening inside a closet at an abandoned home in Lancaster. The monkeys have since been returned to the zoo, and no arrests have been made in the case.

A few hours away, offificals at Zoosiana, a zoo in Broussard, Louisiana, say they were broken into Saturday night. The zoo believes the thief targeted facilities of smaller primates and specifically compromised the squirrel monkey exhibit, taking off with 12 of the animals.

Are suspects bananas for wanting the monkeys? An exotic pet specialist told NewsNation the animals are very valuable and can cost thousands of dollars, depending on what kind they happen to be.

Oliver said it’s a unique case for him in his more than 30 years of law enforcement experience.

“I never thought that I’d be investigating a monkey theft, but we’re here and we investigated. Right now, it’s very unique that you’d have something like this,” Oliver said.

Oliver does not believe any of the stolen monkeys out of Louisiana have a microchip or some other way to track their location. He said right now, his team is vetting video of the incident in their search for a potential suspect or suspects.

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