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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kidnapped meerkat was smuggled out of zoo in baby stroller, authorities say

From Christine Vendel: Jackson County prosecutors today charged two men with stealing a meerkat from an open air exhibit at the Kansas City Zoo last month.

Kansas City police arrested Jacob M. Bradley, 19, and Justin R. Santhuff, 17, both of Kansas City, as they left a house Wednesday. The teens each face a single felony charge of stealing.

Court records said they brought a stroller, blankets anda makeshift cage to the zoo Nov. 4 to steal the exotic animal.

Santhuff told police he jumped into the exhibit and captured one of four meerkats, according to court records. Bradley allegedly pushed the stroller out of the zoo and kept the meerkat at his mother’s home in a Northland trailer park.


Someone abandoned the meerkat in a glass aquarium at a pet store eight days later. Police publicized the theft and received several tips, including someone who said Santhuff had bragged about the theft and posted it on his Facebook page.

Court records noted that the meerkat bit Santhuff on the finger. Zoo officials have said that meerkats look cute on television but in real life they have sharp teeth, stink, spray, and generally will not play nice.


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