Monkey stolen from Arundel house

Family is offering reward for pet, bought for $7,000

February 03, 2005|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County police are searching for a capuchin monkey valued at thousands of dollars that was snatched from a Glen Burnie house yesterday.

Owner Michelle Howard said she received the 3-pound capuchin in December as a Christmas gift from her husband, Brian. He paid $7,000 for the animal, which was not insured, she said.

Yesterday, between 8:20 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., someone entered the couple's Baylor Road house and removed the 8-month-old monkey, named Janey, as well as her cage, county police said.

The thieves also tampered with the padlock securing the cage of the family's other pet, an 8-year-old black wedge-cap capuchin named Nikki. Unlike Nikki's, Janey's cage had wheels, Michelle Howard said.

"They're like kids to me," she said of the monkeys. "They sleep with us at night."

The incident was under investigation as a theft, said Anne Arundel County police spokesman Sgt. Shawn Urbas. He said he had no figures on the thefts of exotic animals.

Janey is a white-throated capuchin, a small animal with white fur on her face, throat and shoulders that is native to the forests of Central and South America. The animals are known for their intelligence and sometimes have been trained to perform tricks.

The family is offering $1,000 for the animal's return.

The pets require constant care, Michelle Howard said. Because of her age, Janey receives milk supplements three or four times a day.

"Not everyone knows how to take care of a monkey," she said.

Howard said she wasn't sure who might have stolen the animal because she doesn't tell many people about her pets.

Monkeys are not regulated in Maryland, according to a spokeswoman for the state Department of Natural Resources. However, the House of Delegates and state Senate are considering bills to make possession of exotic animals such as monkeys illegal.

Five years ago, another Glen Burnie couple waged an expensive battle to try to retain custody of a pet monkey blamed for inflicting injuries on several people and igniting a barroom brawl. County animal control officers seized that monkey and sent it to a wildlife refuge.

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