Man Breaks into zoo to Monkey-Around

Stephanie Schnebly, Contributor

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23-year-old John Owen Casford broke into the Wellington Zoo overnight on April 7 to supposedly steal a squirrel monkey for his girlfriend. He is said to have made a monkey out of himself when he was caught and brought before the Wellington District Court a few days ago so as to be charged for his crimes. Casford has testified to being “as high as a kite” while breaking in making him more dangerous to the monkeys and himself (LifeScience.com).

The New Zealand Herald says, “After entering the zoo through an unsecured gate that night, Casford headed to the squirrel monkey enclosure, where the animals were asleep in a corner. He broke through two padlocks to get into the enclosure.”  He supposedly broke his leg, had two fractured teeth, a sprained ankle, and bruises on his back while attempting to jump the fence towards the squirrel monkey exhibit as well as breaking through two secure areas to get in. Unfortunately, he was not the only one injured in this attempted burglary, according to LiveScience.com, “One monkey had a hematoma — a collection of blood outside a blood vessel that could result from trauma — and others had scratch marks.” Apart from these injuries, a female monkey was found to be hiding in a corner after panicked zookeeper’s feared she had been stolen, she was found in a state of extreme panic and with multiple injuries. The monkeys were able to return to their normal routines since the assault save a few who still show signs of trauma.

Now after many months, John Casford has pleaded guilty to multiple charges of petty crimes along with assault and attempted burglary and has been sentenced to two years and seven months in prison. Although this was the main reason for his imprisonment, he was also charged with unrelated crimes against his own species which he did over the summer.

Apart from Casford, there had been multiple times that people have tried to break into a zoo. Many reports have come out throughout the years of many burglaries from many zoos across the country. Though this is frequent, it is not a good crime to be accused of. This crime not only hurts the criminal, but also the living animals left with injuries, both mental and physical. The Wellington  Zoo wishes to warn others of how harmful this could be to the criminal, since they try to handle wild animals, and to the animals, since humans are a dangerous species as well.

Sources:

https://www.livescience.com/63512-thief-zoo-squirrel-monkey.html

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12119641

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