Friday, December 17, 2010

Meerkat abduction lands two teen boys in hot water

Posted By on Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge "Bite them, officer? Yeah, I did it. And I hope they burn in hell!"
  • "Bite them, officer? Yeah, I did it. And I hope they burn in hell!"

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.

click to enlarge Bradley
  • Bradley
click to enlarge Santhuff
  • Santhuff
Yesterday, Santhuff and Bradley were arrested on unrelated charges and were questioned about the meerkat. Santhuff admitted he'd jumped into the exhibit, stole the meerkat and stuck it in the stroller, and said that Bradley pushed the stroller out of the zoo and kept the meerkat at his mother's. Bradley's girlfriend, who had accompanied the boys to the zoo, corroborated this version of events when she was questioned by police. "She couldn't believe the two were actually going to take the meerkat so she walked away," the court documents read.

Years down the road, when the girls gather 'round to tell tales of high school love and loss, Bradley's girlfriend's story will put them all to shame.

*We actually have no idea as to the gender of said meerkat.

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