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Owners of property Dallas Zoo monkeys were found at are looking for answers

House Dallas Zoo monkeys were found at owned by a church
House Dallas Zoo monkeys were found at owned by a church 02:00

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - CBS 11 has learned more information about how the two monkeys that were taken from the Dallas Zoo on Monday were found. 

As we've reported, police received a tip that led them to a home off Gerry Way in Lancaster. Those who own the property are say there's more to the story. 

After Dallas police released a photo of a man — hoping to talk to him about the two emperor tamarin monkeys that went missing from the Dallas Zoo, "Someone did notice the person that was on the news and they turned it in and said that they noticed the person was somebody from the neighborhood around our church," Tonya Thomas said. 

Her father is the pastor at that church, Family Center Church of God in Christ, in Lancaster. 

She said the monkeys were found inside a closet at their community house, which police called an abandoned house. 

She said the reason some windows are boarded up is because there was another break-in just before the holidays where animals were also found. 

"Now nothing like the zoo or anything like that but there were a few animals in there," she said. "Cats, birds, chickens, pigeons, stuff like that." 

 As police investigate, they say the man in the photo they released is not a suspect.

The monkey case is the fourth incident at the Dallas zoo in recent weeks. On Jan. 13, a clouded leopard named Nova was intentionally let out of her habitat through a cut-out hole—a hole similar to one found shortly later in a monkey habitat, according to the zoo. Nova was found sleeping in a tree that evening.

The day after Nova was reported missing, zoo officials found a cut in the enclosure housing langur monkeys, but none escaped.  

Ten days after Nova was let out then found, someone killed an endangered lappet-faced vulture named Pin

A representative for the zoo says they've brought in security experts that have developed new strategies, like adding additional cameras and fencing and more than doubling security patrols, increasing overnight staffing.

"We're just happy that the monkeys are safe back at the zoo and we just want the break-ins to stop at our church because it totally destroyed the community house on the inside," Thomas said. 

Thomas says they're going to have to spend a lot to get it fixed and are hoping more answers come soon.

The Dallas Zoo has increased its reward to $25,000 for info leading to an arrest in these incidents. Anyone with information is asked to contact DPD.

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