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Most Wanted: Fugitive Monkey on the Loose, Facebook Fans Say "Keep Running!"

Monkey on the lam (WTSP)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CBS/AP) The "Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay" is on the run again, brushing off tranquilizer shots, stealing fruit from yards and swimming in random pools. But now this rebel has over 24,000 fans of Facebook supporting his mission.

Hours after the wayward monkey fell into a St. Petersburg pool - and then swiped some grapefruit - people were cheering for him online. "Go little monkey, go! No cages for you," wrote a guy named Jack on the "Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay" Facebook fan page.

The rhesus macaque monkey has been on the run for nearly a year. Authorities aren't sure where the animal came from, but they have a hunch it could have gotten separated from a group of wild monkeys in an Ocala-area state park, over 100 miles north of St. Petersburg. Or the monkey could have escaped from an owner who doesn't have a permit and is therefore not registered with authorities.

The banana loving creature has captivated people in Tampa Bay because of his ability to outwit the humans trying to catch him. He has been shot numerous times with tranquilizers, but just keeps going, completely unfazed.

Gary Morse, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission noted how difficult it is to catch a monkey: "That animal is so much quicker and more powerful than people perceive."

Wildlife trapper Vernon Yates says he's tracked the monkey through three counties.

This brilliant fugitive has been reported rummaging through trash bins, scaling the wall of an apartment complex and even hanging out by a pool behind a foreclosed home.

Yates swears it is the same monkey because of its size, coloring and behavior.

"He is an extremely intelligent monkey," Yates said. "He is very, very street-wise. He knows to check traffic. He knows to look both ways so he doesn't get hit by cars. He knows to stay out of power lines."

And people seem powerless to stop him.


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