Jacob Bradley, 19, and Justin Santhuff, 17, have each been charged with a count of stealing for smuggling a $5,000 meerkat out of the Kansas City Zoo. The probable cause statement issued by the Jackson County Prosecutor's office should be performed as a live reading by Nathan Lane.
According to court documents, zoo workers noticed that their open-air exhibit was one meerkat short on November 4. They didn't know whether it had been taken by "a person or a predator," which is why they did not file a missing-meerkat report.
It wasn't until the little guy* appeared a week later, abandoned, in an aquarium left in front of a PetCo in Kansas that
Overland Park police were called. They took the animal to the Kansas City Zoo, where he was positively identified as the missing meerkat.
On November 17, an Overland Park Animal Control supervisor received a call from a woman who had information about the theft. She said that Bradley and Santhuff went to the zoo with a makeshift cage that was concealed in a baby stroller under some blankets, and swiped one of the meerkats. They took it to Bradley's mom's home in a Northland trailer park. Another tipster called authorities to report that Santhuff was bragging about stealing the meerkat on Facebook. (This might be Santhuff's page -- court documents say that he goes by "Rocky.") Santhuff had been bitten on the finger by the animal, the tipster added.
*We actually have no idea as to the gender of said meerkat.