Man Agrees To Plead Guilty To Stealing Endangered Lemur From Zoo To Be His Pet

Authorities said the southern California teen kept the extremely rare creature in a plastic drawer that lacked ventilation holes.

A teenager who stole a rare endangered lemur from a southern California zoo last summer has agreed to plead guilty to the crime.

According to a Department of Justice release, 19-year-old Aquinas “Quinn” Kasbar has agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of unlawfully taking an endangered species.

Authorities said Kasbar broke into the Santa Ana Zoo after hours last July and stole Isaac, who, at 32, is the oldest-living ring-tailed lemur in captivity in North America, according to the Orange County Register. 

Kasbar, who intended to keep the endangered animal as a pet, used bolt cutters to cut a hole in the zoo’s enclosures for lemurs and capuchin monkeys. 

As a result, several animals escaped when the accused grabbed Isaac, though they were later retrieved.

Once Kasbar had the lemur, he put the extremely rare, extremely endangered animal in a plastic drawer that lacked ventilation holes, according to the release.

The next day, he changed his mind about being a lemur owner and left Isaac, still in the plastic drawer, in front of a Newport Beach hotel.

Kasbar helpfully placed two notes on the drawer, one reading, “Lemur (with tracker)” and “This belongs to the Santa Ana Zoo it was taken last night please bring it to police.”

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office confirmed to The Guardian that Isaac is “safe and sound.”

The DOJ estimates Kasbar’s actions cost the zoo about $8,486, court papers state.

Kasbar has agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of unlawfully taking an endangered species, a charge that carries a statutory maximum penalty of one year in federal prison and a $100,000 fine.

His next court date is scheduled for May 28 in United States District Court in Santa Ana.

This isn’t the first time Kasbar has been accused of stealing animals. The Los Angeles Times reports that he is a suspect in a string of home robberies on Balboa Island last year that included the theft of one woman’s beloved reptile.

“He took my little pet tortoise, a tortoise I’d had for 10 years,” Claudia Schmutzler told the paper. ”He takes whatever he wants like it’s his God-given right. He’s damn good at it and he’ll do it again.” 



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