‘There’s a lemur!’ 5-year-old helps crack theft

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - NATION & WORLD -

SAN FRAN­CISCO — Po­lice said Fri­day they ar­rested a man sus­pected of steal­ing a ring-tailed lemur fromthe San Fran­cisco Zoo, where of­fi­cials re­warded a 5-year-old boy who helped re­cap­ture the en­dan­gered pri­mate with a life­time mem­ber­ship.

The theft of Maki, an arthritic 21-year-old lemur, made the news last week when zoo of­fi­cials re­ported the an­i­mal miss­ing and found ev­i­dence of forced en­try at his en­clo­sure.

James Trinh, 5, was unaware of the head­lines when leav­ing his preschool Thurs­day in Daly City, about 5 miles from the zoo, and ex­claimed, “There’s a lemur! There’s a lemur!” Cyn­thia Huang, di­rec­tor of the Hope Lutheran Day School, told the San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle.

Maki scur­ried from the park­ing lot into the school’s play­ground and took refuge in a minia­ture play house, as the school called po­lice­who quickly alerted an­i­mal con­trol and zoo of­fi­cials. The chil­dren, par­ents and teach­ers watched as care­tak­ers ar­rived and coaxed the lemur into a trans­port cage, Huang said.

Also Thurs­day, po­lice took 30-year-old Cory McGil­loway into cus­tody, San Fran­cisco po­lice Lt. Scott Ryan told re­porters Fri­day. McGil­loway, whom in­ves­ti­ga­tors had iden­ti­fied as a sus­pect in the ab­duc­tion, was ar­rested Thurs­day evening by San Rafael po­lice on un­re­lated charges.

San Fran­cisco Zoo di­rec­tor Tanya Peter­son said Maki was “an ag­ing wild an­i­mal who needed spe­cial care” for ail­ments.

Au­thor­i­ties had of­fered a $2,100 re­ward for lo­cat­ing Maki, which the zoo will be giv­ing to the church.

“I un­der­stand there is a young boy there who wit­nessed this and also called in the tip, and we are giv­ing his fam­ily a free mem­ber­ship to the zoo,” said Peter­son, who thanked the boy and ev­ery­one who helped. “They lit­er­ally saved a life.”

SAN FRAN­CISCO ZOO

Maki, a 21-year-old ring-tailed lemur, has been re­turned to the San Fran­cisco Zoo af­ter be­ing ab­ducted.

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