A man charged with a series of residential burglaries in Newport Beach is also a suspect in the theft of a lemur that was rescued after being abandoned at a Newport Beach hotel last year, police said Thursday.
A 32-year-old ring-tailed lemur was taken from the Santa Ana Zoo last summer when someone trespassed onto the property and cut through two enclosures housing lemurs and capuchin monkeys.
Several animals escaped the enclosures but were recovered on the property. However, one zoo resident, Isaac the lemur, could not be found.
Early the next day, staff at the Newport Beach Marriott Bayview hotel were surprised to find Isaac outside the front door in a crate labeled “SA Zoo.” Inside was a handwritten note that read: “This belongs to the Santa Ana Zoo. It was taken last night. Please bring it to police.”
Santa Ana police on Thursday identified Quinn Kasbar, 19, of Newport Beach as a suspect in Isaac’s theft. Kasbar, who is free on bail in the Newport burglaries case, has not been arrested or charged in the lemur investigation.
His attorney, Brian Gurwitz, declined to comment Thursday.
In their investigation of the home burglaries, Newport Beach police “obtained evidence that connected to the zoo case,” Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.
Authorities did not disclose that evidence. Newport Beach police would say only that the lemur investigation is Santa Ana’s case.
The Santa Ana Police Department is working with the U.S. attorney’s office on the lemur investigation, Bertagna said. The incident could amount to a federal crime because lemurs are considered an endangered species.
Representatives of the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment.