Home Posts How A Preschooler Aided In The Recovery Of A San Francisco Zoo Lemur Kidnapping
How A Preschooler Aided In The Recovery Of A San Francisco Zoo Lemur Kidnapping
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How A Preschooler Aided In The Recovery Of A San Francisco Zoo Lemur Kidnapping


A man was arraigned on Monday for allegedly stealing a lemur from the San Francisco Zoo last year; he was apprehended in October after the animal was discovered by a 5-year-old boy, whose school alerted authorities.

Cory John McGilloway, 31, of Los Angeles, is accused of stealing Maki, a 21-year-old ring-tailed lemur, from the zoo's enclosure on Oct. 13.

McGilloway was charged with violating the Endangered Species Act and could face up to $50,000 in fines and up to one year in prison if convicted of the federal misdemeanor count, which he appeared in court via video link from a Los Angeles jail on Monday.

Preschooler James Trinh spotted the lemur last year while walking to his mother's car in the parking lot of Hope Lutheran Day School in Daly City, according to Cynthia Huang, the school's director.

Huang wasn't sure what to make of the stripy intruder, thinking it might be a raccoon, but James was unmistakable: "There's a lemur! There's a lemur!" he exclaimed, according to Huang.

The school contacted the Daly City Police Department, who notified the zoo and animal control officials, and students, parents, and teachers stood by as the creature was apprehended.

Tanya Peterson, director of the San Francisco Zoo, presented the school with the $2,100 reward offered for Maki's safe return, according to ABC 7. Zookeepers said Maki was hungry and dehydrated when he returned to the zoo, but otherwise fine.


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Earlier that day, a woman filmed a man who was later identified as McGilloway walking a lemur on a leash on Treasure Island, just off the coast of San Francisco.

According to court documents obtained by the Washington Post, McGilloway was arrested that night in San Rafael after police received reports of a stolen dump truck and found him driving it. A stainless steel bowl belonging to the zoo was discovered in his car, and his phone contained images of Maki sitting on his lap and behind the wheel of the car.

Maki had gone missing the day before, and authorities discovered evidence of forced entry into his enclosure at the Lipman Family Lemur Forest.

James, who later received a city certificate of honor and lifetime zoo membership for his efforts, had no doubts about the animal he saw.

When asked what it looked like, he said, "A lemur," in grey, black, and white, to an ABC7News reporter.

"Call the zookeeper!" he suggests.

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