comscore ‘There’s a lemur!’: 5-year-old boy helps crack San Francisco Zoo theft case | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

‘There’s a lemur!’: 5-year-old boy helps crack San Francisco Zoo theft case

  • SAN FRANCISCO ZOO VIA AP
                                This undated photo provided by the San Francisco Police, courtesy of the San Francisco Zoo, shows the lemur named Maki. The ring-tailed lemur was stolen from the San Francisco Zoo Wednesday but recovered thanks, in part, to a sharp-eyed 5-year-old boy.

    SAN FRANCISCO ZOO VIA AP

    This undated photo provided by the San Francisco Police, courtesy of the San Francisco Zoo, shows the lemur named Maki. The ring-tailed lemur was stolen from the San Francisco Zoo Wednesday but recovered thanks, in part, to a sharp-eyed 5-year-old boy.

  • SAN FRANCISCO ZOO VIA AP
                                This undated photo provided by the San Francisco Police, courtesy of the San Francisco Zoo, shows the lemur named Maki. The ring-tailed lemur was stolen from the San Francisco Zoo Wednesday but recovered thanks, in part, to a sharp-eyed 5-year-old boy.

    SAN FRANCISCO ZOO VIA AP

    This undated photo provided by the San Francisco Police, courtesy of the San Francisco Zoo, shows the lemur named Maki. The ring-tailed lemur was stolen from the San Francisco Zoo Wednesday but recovered thanks, in part, to a sharp-eyed 5-year-old boy.

SAN FRANCISCO >> Police say they have arrested a man suspected of stealing a ring-tailed lemur from the 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 Wednesday in San Francisco and beyond when zoo officials reported the animal missing and found evidence of forced entry at his enclosure.

Five-year-old James Trinh 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 Friday.

Huang was skeptical at first. “I thought, Are you sure it’s not a raccoon?” she said.

Maki scurried from the parking lot into the school’s playground and took refuge in a miniature play house, as the school called police who 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 lemur’s abduction, was arrested Thursday evening by San Rafael police on unrelated charges. He was expected to be transferred to San Francisco County Jail to be booked on charges of burglary, grand theft of an animal, looting and vandalism all related to the lemur theft, Ryan said.

Police did not provide other details, saying the investigation was still underway but credited a multi-agency effort and tips on a public tip line that led to the suspect’s capture.

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

“He’s still agitated, dehydrated and hungry,” she said, adding that veterinarian teams were working to get him back to health. Due to his travels, she added, “He’s socially distancing from his primate family” but would hopefully join the other lemurs soon.

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.”

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature
Comments (7)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Scroll Up