Po­lice iden­tify sus­pect in theft of zoo’s lemur

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - BAY AREA - By Nora Mis­hanec

San Rafael po­lice ar­rested a man they say stole a truck — and now he’s wanted for the theft of Maki, the San Fran­cisco Zoo lemur, af­ter of­fi­cers said they dis­cov­ered pho­tos of the en­dan­gered an­i­mal on his cell phone.

Cory McGil­loway, 30, be­came a sus­pect Fri­day in Maki’s dis­ap­pear­ance, just one day af­ter San Rafael po­lice de­tained him in con­nec­tion with the theft of a Marin San­i­tary Ser­vice truck.

San Fran­cisco po­lice said they have se­cured an ar­rest war­rant for McGil­loway. It’s the lat­est twist in the case of the miss­ing lemur that has peo­ple talk­ing across the re­gion.

Maki was safely re­cov­ered in a Daly City

Zoo of­fi­cials an­nounced Fri­day that they would do­nate the $ 2,100 re­ward to the school as a to­ken of grat­i­tude for Maki’s safe re­turn.

play­ground Thurs­day evening and taken back to the zoo.

Once re­leased from the Marin County jail, McGil­loway will be trans­ferred to San Fran­cisco County jail and face charges of grand theft of an an­i­mal, bur­glary, loot­ing and van­dal­ism, San Fran­cisco po­lice Lt. Scott Ryan said Fri­day.

San Rafael po­lice re­ceived a re­port of a stolen truck near An­der­son Drive on Thurs­day night around 10 p. m., spokesman Lt. Dan Fink said Fri­day. Of­fi­cers tailed the truck for sev­eral min­utes be­fore pulling it over and con­fronting McGil­loway, po­lice said.

The ar­rest­ing of­fi­cers re­quested to view McGil­loway’s phone and he con­sented, Fink said, call­ing the re­quest to view a sus­pect’s phone “stan­dard in­ves­tiga­tive pro­ce­dure.”

That’s when the of­fi­cers found pic­tures of Maki among the pho­tos. McGil­loway was booked at the Marin County jail for theft of the truck and of­fi­cers no­ti­fied the San Fran­cisco Po­lice Depart­ment about the pho­tos of Maki. In­ves­ti­ga­tors from the San Fran­cisco Po­lice Depart­ment’s bur­glary unit in­ter­viewed McGil­loway at the jail, where he re­mained Fri­day night.

One of the San Rafael of­fi­cers who ar­rested McGil­loway had taken his child to the zoo the day Maki’s dis­ap­pear­ance was re­ported.

“There is no such things as a co­in­ci­dence in po­lice work,” Fink said.

The 21yearold lemur was found lurk­ing near a Daly City preschool Thurs­day, just hours be­fore McGil­loway was taken into cus­tody and two days af­ter he van­ished from the zoo’s Lip­man Fam­ily Lemur For­est habi­tat.

Daly City po­lice of­fi­cers re­sponded to re­ports of a lemur sighting at the Hope Lutheran Day School play­ground at about 5 p. m. Thurs­day. Maki re­mained hid­den in a house on the school’s play­ground un­til han­dlers scooped him up and re­turned him to the zoo roughly 5 miles away, po­lice said.

Maki was “ag­i­tated and de­hy­drated” but oth­er­wise healthy on Thurs­day af­ter his brief stint on the loose, said Tanya Peter­son, the zoo’s ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor and pres­i­dent.

The ring­tailed lemur was be­ing mon­i­tored in iso­la­tion for a brief re­cov­ery pe­riod be­fore re­join­ing his peers in the tree­lined en­clo­sure.

“It’s the per­fect end­ing,” said Peter­son.

Fiveyear old James Trinh spot­ted an an­i­mal that looked like a lemur in the park­ing lot of the school and pointed it out to his mother, who was pick­ing him up from school. James is fa­mil­iar with lemurs from vis­its to the zoo, his fa­ther, Sam Trinh, said Fri­day.

James’s mother and the school quickly called the Daly City po­lice, who alerted an­i­mal con­trol and zoo of­fi­cials.

Maki scam­pered from the park­ing lot into the school’s play­ground, where he took refuge in a minia­ture play­house.

Zoo of­fi­cials ar­rived soon af­ter. The chil­dren, par­ents and teach­ers watched as care­tak­ers coaxed the er­rant lemur into a trans­port cage — with­out the use of tran­quil­iz­ers.

James and the other preschool­ers got an un­ex­pected ex­tracur­ric­u­lar les­son as they watched the res­cue play out, the school’s direc­tor Cyn­thia Huang said Fri­day af­ter­noon.

“The best part is that they got a pri­vate show­ing, up close,” Huang said.

Zoo of­fi­cials an­nounced Fri­day that they would do­nate the $ 2,100 re­ward to the school as a to­ken of grat­i­tude for Maki’s safe re­turn. The re­ward is cal­cu­lated as $ 100 for ev­ery year of the lemur’s life.

For Huang, Maki’s ap­pear­ance at the school was a rare mo­ment of joy in an oth­er­wise stress­ful time. The Chris­tian preschool re­cently re­turned to in­per­son lessons af­ter months of vir­tual learn­ing.

“We re­turned to school, but ev­ery­thing is so dif­fer­ent for them,” she said. “I’m so glad they had a happy thing hap­pen.”

James was “obliv­i­ous” to his new­found fame for his role in Maki’s safe re­turn, his fa­ther said.

“For him it was just a nor­mal day,” he said.

Paul Kuroda / Spe­cial to The Chron­i­cle

James Trinh, 5, shows where he first saw Maki on top of an ir­ri­ga­tion cage. The 21yearold lemur then headed to Hope Lutheran Day School play­ground, where he was cap­tured.

San Fran­cisco Zoo / TNS

The ring­tailed lemur re­ported miss­ing from the S. F. Zoo was found in Daly City.

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