Man accused of stealing monkeys, cutting enclosures at Dallas Zoo indicted on felony charges

Davion Irvin faces two felony counts of burglary, six misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty

A 24-year-old man has been arrested in the case of the two monkeys taken from the Dallas Zoo after he was spotted near the animal exhibits at an aquarium in the city, police said Friday. Davion Irvin was arrested Thursday and was charged with six counts of animal cruelty, Dallas police said. (Dallas Zoo, Dallas police)

DALLAS – A 24-year-old man accused of cutting animal enclosures at the Dallas Zoo and stealing two monkeys in January has been indicted on two felony charges.

A Dallas County grand jury indicted Davion Irvin on Tuesday on two counts of burglary, records show. He is also facing six misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty — three for each monkey taken on the night of Jan. 29.

When he was arrested in early February, Irvin told police that he waited until dark that night to jump a fence and get onto the zoo grounds, according to arrest warrant affidavits. He cut the metal mesh of the animals’ enclosure and stole the two emperor tamarin monkeys.

Authorities said he took the monkeys, named Bella and Finn, to a vacant house in the suburb of Lancaster, where they were found alive on Jan. 31.

The affidavits state that the home also had multiple cats and pigeons, along with dead feeder fish and fish food that was taken from a staff-only area at the zoo.

The two burglary charges stem from the Jan. 29 theft of the monkeys and a Jan. 13 incident involving a clouded leopard.

The leopard, named Nova, was discovered missing from her enclosure that day. A cut was found in her enclosure and the zoo launched a search.

She was later found alive near her habitat.

Irvin told authorities that he wanted to steal Nova but he was only able to pet her before she climbed on top of her enclosure, the affidavits state.

He also told authorities that he loves animals and that if he was released from jail, he would steal more, the affidavits say.

Irvin was arrested on Feb. 6 after asking questions at a downtown Dallas aquarium about animals there.

Police said they’ve linked Irvin to the cutting of an enclosure for langur monkeys, discovered after Nova disappeared, but he hasn’t been charged with that. None of the langur monkeys escaped.

Police have said they are still investigating, but Irvin has not been linked to the suspicious death of an endangered vulture at the zoo in January.

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Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.