Man arrested after two tamarin monkeys stolen from Dallas zoo are found inside empty church
A 24-year-old Texas man has been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of two tamarin monkeys from Dallas Zoo.
Davion Dwight Irvin was taken into custody near Dallas Aquarium on Thursday and charged with animal cruelty.
He was booked into Dallas County Jail but it is unclear at this time if he has posted bond.
It came after officers found the monkeys inside an empty church that was also filled with cats, birds and other small animals.
Meanwhile Irvin was shown in eerie security footage creeping around the zoo apparently eyeing up animal enclosures.
Officers found the monkeys inside an empty church (pictured) that was also filled with cats, birds and other small animals
Meanwhile Irvin was shown in eerie security footage creeping around the zoo apparently eyeing up animal enclosures
The video captured him lurking around the mesh enclosures at an animal habitat near the Dallas World Aquarium, before being caught.
The exotic monkeys were found on Tuesday by officials inside a church closet in Lancaster, approximately 15 miles away from the Dallas Zoo.
The animals were unharmed though temperatures inside the building were only 37 degrees, officials said.
Police were tipped off when the church pastor told them that Irvin may be the same person who has been breaking into their church.
Irvin was booked into the Dallas County Jail but it is unclear at this time if he has bonded out
When officials went to the empty church to investigate the burglaries they had found a slew of other animals inside including, cats and birds.
Sources told WFAA they are looking into the possibility that Irvin is connected to all the incidents that took place at the Dallas Zoo in the prior weeks.
The church pastor’s daughter, Tonya Thomas said members from the church had recognized Irvin attending services at the church.
She told the authorities about a series of break-ins happening at the church that they were renovating into a community center.
Irvin was caught after surveillance cameras at the zoo captured him lurking around the area where the exotic monkey’s disappeared. Sources told WFAA that prior to the monkeys been snatched Irvin had been spotted in areas that are for staff only.
Sources also told the news outlet he had been asking about the clouded leopard that disappeared about thee weeks ago from its enclosure after its cage had been cut. The animal was eventually found.
Over the last few weeks there have been a series of other calamities happening at the zoo, including a vulture who was found with what appeared to be some type of puncture, and also some fish and other items had been stolen.
Police were tipped off when the church pastor told them that Irvin may be the same person who has been breaking into their church
Video surveillance of the 24-year-old suspect, Davion Dwight Irvin
Zoo officials would not provide any further details regarding the vulture’s death, refusing to do so until police progress further with their investigation. Cops are pictured at the zoo – located just a six hours’ drive from Broussard – last month
Earlier this month, authorities in Dallas have had their hands full with a separate investigation, following a series of incidents that have transpired in recent weeks, which have seen several animals snagged, tampered with, and even killed.
The first of the bizarre incidents occurred on January 13, when a clouded leopard named Nova suddenly went missing from its enclosure.
The event sparked a day-long search for the 25-pound feline, which was eventually tracked down by cops a few hours later just off the zoo property. It was subsequently returned to its enclosure safe and sound.
Forced to close down during the search for the cat, the zoo resumed operations as normal the next day – until it was discovered that a second habitat – one housed a breed of monkey known as langurs – had also been cut into.
Fortunately, the hole was discovered before any of the animals could escape.
A police report later alleged the incidents were both a result of ‘criminal mischief’ spurring zoo staffers to implement a series of added security measures including the installation of additional cameras and increased security patrols at night.
A week later, a 35-year-old endangered vulture was found dead inside its habitat, causing the zoo to again go to the local police department, this time asking for help in its own investigation – which found that the vulture’s cause of death was from a wound.
It was soon discerned the vulture’s passing was likely the result of foul play, with officials deeming it ‘suspicious.’
Two days later, the zoo again would find itself seemingly targeted, when two emperor tamarin monkeys went missing from their own enclosure, which also had been cut into.
The first of the bizarre incidents occurred on January 13, when a clouded leopard named Nova (pictured) suddenly went missing from its enclosure. The cat was found safe hours later
Operations at the zoo would return to normal the next day, that is until zoo officials discovered that a second habitat – housing a breed of monkey known as langurs – was similarly cut into
On January 21, a 35-year-old endangered vulture named Pin was found dead, with the zoo issuing a statement saying that its death did not appear to be ‘natural’
Meanwhile yesterday it emerged a dozen monkeys had been stolen in a zoo burglary in Louisiana.
The primates were taken from their enclosure at Zoosiana on Saturday, staffers at the Broussard zoo revealed in a statement, adding that the incident occurred moments before midnight.
In total, 12 squirrel monkeys were taken, the zoo said – with officials claiming an unidentified perpetrator targeted other small monkeys during the break-in as well, before only taking the aforementioned animals.
Zoosiana, a six hours’ drive from Dallas, offered its first statement on their break-in on Monday, revealing on Facebook that the ‘facility was broken into shortly before midnight on Saturday, January 28th.’
It continued: ‘The individual targeted facilities of smaller primates and specifically compromised the Squirrel Monkey exhibit. The individual was unfortunately successful in stealing 12 squirrel monkeys.
‘The remaining squirrel monkeys have been carefully assessed by both the Zoosiana veterinarian and animal care team, and there are no other apparent issues affecting their health or well being,’ it added.
‘All other animals are accounted for and appear to have been undisturbed.’
Zoo officials did not specify how many squirrel monkeys had initially been in the enclosure, but said that are working with local, state, and federal agencies to try to locate the missing monkeys.
A dozen monkeys have been stolen in a zoo burglary in Louisiana – the latest in a string of animal thefts across multiple states
The pint-sized primates – known for their expressive faces and inquisitive personalities – were taken from their enclosure at Zoosiana Saturday, staffers at the Broussard zoo said Monday
Officers have yet to make an arrest in the case, which serves to compound another mystery currently unfolding 400 miles away in Dallas, where a series of similar incident has left both local and federal investigators at a loss