Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Citizen Tip Leads to Arrest For Monkey Killing

Posted By on Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 9:25 AM

Michael Watkins, 22, of Weiser is charged with burglary and grand theft.
  • Courtesy Washington County Sheriff's Office
  • Michael Watkins, 22, of Weiser is charged with burglary and grand theft.

He's technically known as inmate B-12645. But he's better known as a suspected monkey killer.

A Weiser man is behind bars in the Washington County Jail, in connection with the Saturday break-in at Zoo Boise and the violent death of a Patas monkey.

Michael Watkins, 22, has been charged with burglary and grand theft, both felonies.

Boise Police said a second suspect was a friend of Watkins, but may not have been criminally involved and has yet to be charged.

Law enforcement didn't offer any details as to how they believe the suspects broke into the zoo or their motives.

"I speak for many of us in the police department and the community who were angered and outraged over this senseless crime," Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson said Monday night. "The loss of the patas monkey has touched many lives, including our officers and investigators.

"Officers spent countless hours this weekend and today tracking and developing leads," Masterson said. "As usual, it was a combination of a citizen tip and good police work that led us to the arrest in this case."

As to the suspect's motives, Masterson added that "I think those answers are going to have to be postponed until the suspects have their day in court."

Masterson said it was a citizen tip called into Crime Stoppers that was relayed to Boise Police and led to the arrest. Masterson said the citizen had specific information regarding the crime that would not have been known to others.

Masterson said Watkins appeared in an emergency room of a local hospital, saying he had suffered injuries to his upper torso. Police said the suspect's story of how he had hurt himself "didn't add up."

Boise Police were called to the zoo at 4:30 a.m. Nov. 17 when a security guard spotted two males running from the scene. The Patas monkey was found near the zoo's perimeter, suffering from blunt force trauma to the head and neck. The monkey died shortly thereafter.

Meanwhile, Boise citizens continue to place flowers outside the exhibit where the Patas monkey had lived. The monkey's companion remains at the exhibit, where zoo officials are closely monitoring him. Zoo Boise officials say their first priority is to obtain another Patas monkey for the exhibit.

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