The man charged with stealing a pair of monkeys from the Dallas Zoo is also behind the other animal escapes, and he says he’ll do it again.
According to police affidavits obtained by the Dallas Morning News, the suspect, 24-year-old Davion Irvin, said he was behind at least three of the four animal disappearances that took place in January. The suspect also said flatly that if he is released, he will attempt to take more animals. Irvin is charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty for stealing the monkeys last week.
According to the police affidavits, Irvin was asking obscure questions about various animals on display at the zoo, and how they are moved around. “Where do y’all get the monkeys from and how do y’all shift them around?” he reportedly asked a zookeeper. The affidavits said that he asked the same questions about the zoo’s tigers.
Two days before he allegedly stole the emperor tamarins, he asked a zookeeper similar questions about them. “Where can [I] get one and how do y’all get them in at night?” Irvin reportedly asked a zookeeper on January 29, according to the affidavits. “How do you catch the birds and where do they go at night?” he said separately. The affidavits said that he wrote the zookeeper’s answers on a piece of tissue paper.
He posed the same line of questions to another employee near the clouded leopard and langur monkey exhibit. “How do you handle them and are they aggressive?” he asked. Irvin is currently accused of cutting open the langur monkey enclosure, though none were taken.
Later on, Irvin was seen entering a staff-only area. He was asked to leave, and a zoo employee followed him around the zoo until he went home.
His first attempt came on January 13. Irvin reportedly told police that he entered the zoo with the intent to take the big cat, named Nova, “but could only manage to pet it” because she leapt to the top of her enclosure and he was “unable to retrieve it.” Then on the night of January 29, he waited until nightfall, then jumped a fence and headed for the emperor tamarin exhibit.
He then “cut the metal mesh, went through the door, cut the enclosure where the monkeys were in and took them.” He then boarded a light rail train and took them to the vacant home where they were eventually recovered.
Irvin also told police that he “loved animals,” and that he plans to return to the zoo and steal animals again if he is released from jail; he reportedly outlined his plans to police.
Police announced on Friday that they had arrested Irvin in connection with the disappearance of the emperor tamarins. The pair of emperor tamarins named Bella and Finn, were stolen early last Tuesday, but were found and returned the same day.
Police reportedly received a tip on social media that the suspect had been spotted at an abandoned home in nearby Lancaster. That house had caught the attention of neighbors because it had been previously broken into and animals had been found inside, the Dallas Morning News reported. Police responded to the tip and found the house unlocked and unoccupied. Officers found the tamarins, as well as several cats and pigeons, inside.
He is charged with six counts of animal cruelty, non-livestock. He is currently being held on several bonds totaling some $25,000.