A man charged with a series of residential burglaries in Newport Beach is also a suspect in the theft of a lemur that was found abandoned at a Newport 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 resident, Isaac, was nowhere to be found.
Staff at the Newport Beach Marriott Bayview hotel were surprised to find Isaac outside the front door early July 28. He was in a crate labeled “SA Zoo” with a handwritten note that read: “This belongs to the Santa Ana Zoo. It was taken last night. Please bring it to police.”
The Santa Ana Police Department said Thursday that Quinn Kasbar, 19, of Newport Beach is 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.
Based on its investigation of the home burglaries, the Newport Beach Police Department “obtained evidence that connected to the zoo case,” Santa Ana police spokesman 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.
Kasbar currently faces 29 felony and three misdemeanor counts related to the spate of residential burglaries that occurred between May and December at Balboa Island and Corona del Mar.