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Weiser man arrested in connection to monkey death at zoo

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Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 12:03 am | Updated: 11:43 am, Tue Nov 20, 2012.

BOISE — A 22-year-old Weiser man has been arrested and charged with two felonies in connection with the death of a Patas monkey inside Zoo Boise over the weekend, Boise Police said.

Michael J. Watkins has been charged with felony burglary and felony grand theft. He is currently in the custody of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Weiser, according to police.

A security employee at Zoo Boise called Boise Police to report a burglary in progress at 4:30 Saturday morning.

The guard saw two males, one inside the zoo and one outside the zoo’s perimeter fence near the primate exhibit. The men ran when they saw the security guard.

Zoo employees later found the Patas monkey lying near the perimeter fence where one of the suspects was last seen. The monkey appeared to be seriously injured. It was taken to the on-site veterinarian for treatment but died a short time later. The cause of death was later determined to be blunt force trauma to the head and neck.

Police said the suspect who was seen inside the zoo had to overcome several security measures to gain entry. Detectives found blood evidence and are currently testing it to see if it is human blood. A baseball cap was also found at the scene.

Boise Police and Ada County Prosecutors secured an arrest warrant for Watkins Monday afternoon.

The arrest came after officers pieced together leads from citizen tips and other investigative information. The investigation is ongoing and other charges are possible.

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