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A man stole an endangered lemur from a zoo. Now he's been sentenced to federal prison

Posted at 10:55 AM, Oct 29, 2019

A 19-year-old man was sentenced to three months in federal prison for breaking into a California zoo and stealing an endangered Lemur.

Aquinas Kasbar of Newport Beach, California, was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of unlawfully taking an endangered species, according to a press release from the US Attorney's Office Central District of California.

Kasbar broke into the Santa Ana Zoo on July 27, 2018 after hours using bolt cutters to cut a hole in the enclosure for lemurs and capuchin monkeys, the release said.

He then stole Isaac, a 32-year-old ring-tailed lemur from his enclosure. The ring-tailed lemur is a Madagascar native and one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world, the release said. Isaac is the oldest lemur in captivity in North America and turned 33 in July.

Ring-tailed lemurs like Isaac typically only live to be 20-25 years old and are endangered, in part, because of the illegal pet trade, the release said.

After taking Isaac from the zoo, Kasbar put him in a plastic drawer without ventilation and then abandoned him in front of a hotel in Newport Beach hotel with two notes that said "Lemur (with tracker)" and "This belongs to the Santa Ana Zoo it was taken last night please bring it to police."

Isaac was returned unharmed to the zoo, according to the release.

Several other animals escaped after their enclosure was opened by Kasbar but they were all recovered, the release said.

In addition to his prison sentence, Kasbar was sentenced to pay restitution of $8,486 to the zoo.