Dallas Zoo suspect might have hopped on the city’s rail system with 2 stolen monkeys, official says

Two monkeys stolen from the Dallas Zoo might have ridden mass transit after they were snatched from their habitats last month, officials said Tuesday.

Police have asked Dallas Area Rapid Transit to scour video surveillance footage for any sightings of Davion Irvin, the 24-year-old man suspected in a string of odd zoo break-ins, DART vice president Gordon Shattles told NBC News.

The monkeys were first noticed missing from their enclosure at the Dallas Zoo on Jan. 30. Irvin has told detectives he took them to suburban Lancaster by riding DART on Jan. 29, according to the transit agency.

Irvin allegedly told police he put the monkeys in a backpack so he wouldn’t draw any attention from fellow riders after boarding at DART’s Dallas Zoo station.

“From what we’re hearing in initial reports, they’re very timid creatures which is probably why they stayed concealed inside a backpack easily,” Shattles said.

“I don’t believe they posed any danger to the public — very small animals and easily concealable in a regular backpack.”

A Dallas police spokesperson declined comment on the monkeys’ alleged ride on the rails.

“Our office has not released specifics,” police spokesperson Kristin Lowman said.

Chief Dallas County Public Defender Lynn Richardson also declined to discuss specifics of the case against her client.

However, she said “we are having him evaluated for mental health issues.”

Irvin was picked up Thursday after he was spotted inside The Dallas World Aquarium before jumping on DART, officials said.

The stolen monkeys, Bella and Finn, were found on Jan. 31 in a bathroom inside an empty home in Lancaster.

The creatures were discovered on the property of a church on Gerry Way Street, across the street from “Suspect Irvin’s family house,” according to a police affidavit.

Had Irvin not been arrested, additional animals might have been stolen by the man charged with two counts of burglary and six counts of cruelty to non-livestock animals, police said. He had plans to swipe more, according to police.

Charges against Irvin are also connected to the the Jan. 13 disappearance of Nova, a 3-year-old clouded leopard, who escaped her wire mesh enclosure after it was cut, authorities said. The cat, who the zoo said posed no danger to the public, was found later that day.

Irvin has also been accused of cutting open the zoo’s langur monkey habitat, though no animals escaped or were taken or harmed in that incident, police said.

On Jan. 21, a 35-year-old endangered vulture, Pin, was found dead with what authorities have described as an “unusual wound.” The animal’s cause of death has not been determined and no one has been charged in connection with that incident.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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