SANTA ANA, California -- A 19-year-old man who stole a ring-tailed lemur from a California zoo was sentenced to three months in federal prison on Monday.
Aquinas Kasbar swiped Isaac, the oldest such lemur in captivity in North America, from the Santa Ana Zoo on July 27, 2018. Investigators say he used bolt-cutters to slice through enclosures for the lemurs and capuchin monkeys after the zoo had closed for the day.
Isaac was 32 when he was taken, but he turned 33 this summer. Lemurs typically do not live more than 25 years.
The ring-tailed lemur, native to Madagascar, is on a list of the 25 most endangered primates.
Prosecutors say Kasbar placed Isaac in a plastic drawer that lacked ventilation holes and abandoned the animal in front of a Newport Beach hotel. One of two notes left on the drawer read, ““This belongs to the Santa Ana Zoo it was taken last night please bring it to police.”
Isaac was later returned unharmed to the zoo.
Kasbar pleaded guilty in July to one misdemeanor count of unlawfully taking an endangered species. U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford also ordered the defendant to pay $8,486 in restitution to the zoo.
Multiple agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, were involved in the investigation.
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