California Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Endangered Lemur from Zoo

A California man pleaded guilty Monday to a federal criminal charge after stealing a a critically endangered lemur from the Santa Ana Zoo. According to a Justice Department press release, 19-year-old Aquinas Kasbar admitted to breaking into the zoo in July 2018 and stealing Issac, a “32-year-old, ring-tailed lemur” who is the “oldest ring-tailed lemur in captivity.” Kasbar then placed Isaac in a “plastic drawer” with no ventilation holes and abandoning the animal in front of a Newport Beach hotel, with two notes that claimed the lemur had a “tracker” and instructions to take the animal to the police. The teenager pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of unlawfully taking an endangered species, which carries a maximum one year sentence and $100,000 fine. The DOJ said his actions cost the zoo about $8,486. He is slated to appear in court on May 28. Local news station KCAL9 reported last year that Issac was returned to the zoo safely.