‘There’s a lemur!’ 5-year-old helps crack zoo theft case
SAN FRANCISCO — Police said Friday, Oct. 16, they 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.
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 Friday.
Huang was skeptical. “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 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 Cory McGilloway, 30, 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 expected to face 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 give 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 everyone who helped. “They literally saved a life.
State: Worker who got $186K in ‘dog phobia’ case owned dogs
OLYMPIA, Wash. — A meter reader who was attacked by a dog while on duty and collected years of workers’ compensation is now accused of stealing the money, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries said.
Linda Jordan of Cathlamet told the agency the attack gave her such a strong fear of dogs she couldn’t work anymore and fainted at the sight of them, the agency said.
She’s now accused of stealing $186,000 of workers’ compensation money, The Bellingham Herald recently reported.
A dog bit Jordan while she was working for the Pacific County Public Utility District in 2007. According to L&I, she filed an injury claim. In 2018, a claim manager suspected there was something wrong and an investigation began.
An L&I investigator went to Jordan’s property and was “greeted by three small French bulldogs” when he arrived and “watched her three large boxers swarm around her,” according to L&I.
She told the agent that she and her husband rescued and fostered boxers over the last 30 years, “and even warned the investigator that one of her recently rescued dogs might bite,” according to the news release.
Jordan is charged with felony theft for “wrongfully receiving nearly $163,000 in wage-replacement payments, plus more than $23,000 in vocational and medical services, from 2016 to 2019.”
“The defendant’s alleged actions in this case are so blatant it’s astounding,” said Chris Bowe, assistant director of L&I’s Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards, according to the news release.
It wasn’t immediately known if Jordan has a lawyer to comment.