Suspect arrested in connection to theft of SF Zoo lemur, police say

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ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Suspect arrested in connection to theft of SF Zoo lemur, police say
San Francisco police say a suspect has been arrested in connection to the theft of a lemur from the San Francisco Zoo.

DALY CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- Thanks to a group of observant kindergarteners, "Maki" the lemur is now safely back at the San Francisco Zoo.

During a press conference on Friday afternoon, police say a man was arrested in San Rafael accused of breaking into Maki's habitat and taking him.

It was just like any other day, five-year-old James Trinh was leaving school with his mom when everything changed.

James spotted a wild animal in the parking lot and called over his friends, who were astonished to see a lemur.

James, Mavis, Brandon, Adriel, Samuel, and Sofie, all TK and kindergarten students at Hope Lutheran Day School in Daly City, explained what happened next.

"Then the lemur jumped over the gate and he was there," said one of the kindergarteners.

"And then they called police and animal control," explained another.

Cell phone video taken Thursday evening, shows Maki wandering around the yard. Eventually, the endangered primate found comfort in a playhouse.

Animal control and Daly City police showed up, fortunately, they had snacks for Maki, who at 21, is very old in lemur years, and requires constant feedings.

It all started at the San Francisco Zoo, where Maki was born and raised.

RELATED: SF Zoo officials announce reward in locating missing lemur; police investigating possible break-in

On Wednesday morning, Maki was discovered missing from the Lipman Family Lemur Forest. Police then opened an investigation when they found the enclosure had been tampered with.

36 hours later, San Rafael Police arrested 30-year-old Cory McGilloway in Marin County, on suspicion of shoplifting and stealing a getaway truck. They later found photos of Maki on his cell phone.

"It's kind of unbelievable. I can't understand myself," San Francisco Police Lt. Scott Ryan.

San Francisco Zoo Director Tanya Peterson announced they are giving Hope Lutheran the $2,100 reward and the Trinh Family a lifetime zoo membership.

"I want to thank the community for coming together as quickly as they did, they literally saved a life," said Peterson.

Hope Lutheran Day School Director Cynthia Huang said Maki was just the lesson they all needed.

"It really was a reminder that we still can experience happy moments during the pandemic and also let the children see there is hope, there is light at the end of the tunnel," said Huang.