Stolen SF Zoo Monkey Found Hiding In Stern Grove Bushes

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — A much-loved squirrel monkey that had been stolen from the San Francisco Zoo was found safe on New Year’s Eve, police and zoo officials confirmed to CBS 5.

Banana Sam was located around 7:30 p.m. Saturday – nearly two days after he disappeared – in Stern Grove Park, which is located about a mile from the zoo. Police said a man walking in the park who noticed a monkey hiding in some bushes and managed to coax him into his backpack.

The man then contacted the SFPD, who in turn called the zoo saying they believed they had found Banana Sam. Officers quickly delivered the 17-year-old primate, who is over 12 inches tall and weighs about 2 lbs., back to the zoo.

“We are so thankful to the community and to the San Francisco Police Department for this happy ending,” said Tanya Peterson, President and Executive Director of the San Francisco Zoological Society. “I know it’s been extremely stressful for Zoo staff during this time but we are grateful that Banana-Sam is back at the Zoo where he belongs.”

A physical exam performed at the zoo showed the returned monkey was in good health, although zookeepers described him as “hungry, trembling and thirsty.”

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

Banana Sam’s theft late Thursday or early Friday had prompted the zoo to boost security and keep their other 17 squirrel monkeys indoors.

He was taken after thieves cut through both a gate and the mesh surrounding the monkey exhibit. What motivated the thieves to swipe the monkey was not clear.

As of Saturday night, police said no one had been arrested and no suspects were identified.

A $5,000 reward had been offered for the monkey’s safe return. It was not immediately known if the man who found the monkey in the park would be receiving the reward.

(Copyright 2011 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved.)


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