Man who stole endangered lemur from zoo agrees to guilty plea, possible $100,000 fine

Lemur Stolen From California Zoo Found Outside Hotel

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — A California man will plead guilty to a federal criminal charge after admitting he stole a critically endangered lemur from the Santa Ana Zoo last summer, according to news reports.

Aquinas Kasbar, 19, of Newport Beach, is facing a year in jail and a $100,000 fine after agreeing to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of unlawfully taking an endangered species, KTLA-TV reported.

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Kasbar went to the Santa Ana Zoo after hours in July 2018 and broke into the enclosure that housed lemurs and monkeys, letting several escape in the process.

He took the oldest lemur in captivity in North America, a 32-year-old animal called Isaac.

Within a day, Kasbar left the lemur inside an unventilated plastic container at a Newport Beach hotel with two notes, one that said "Lemur (with tracker)" and the other admitting that the animal was taken from the zoo the night before, according to KTLA.

The story ends well, with the lemur returned to the zoo and the other escaped animals safety recaptured.

Kasbar is also facing 32 other charges in a string of burglaries last year, including 29 felony counts, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A lemur, similar to one stolen from the Santa Ana Zoo, is pictured here. The animal stolen from the zoo last summer was returned the next day, but the man accused of the theft just agreed to plead guilty to federal charges in the case.