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Suspected Lemur Kidnapper Faces Federal Charges for Violating Endangered Species Act

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This week brought yet another turn in the bizarre and baffling case of a lemur lost and found and the man accused of stealing the ring-tail from the San Francisco Zoo. The suspect is facing new federal charges for the odd and pretty heinous act. 

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that Cory John McGilloway, 31, will now also answer for misdemeanor violations of the Endangered Species Act, which could land him in prison for up to a year. If found guilty, the Los Angeles resident may also be expected to pay an up to $50,000 fine. 

The ordeal that ultimately landed McGilloway in an LA jail cell began back on Oct. 13, 2020 when Maki, a 21-year-old male ring-tailed lemur went missing from the Lipman Family Lemur Forest at the San Francisco Zoo. It was found that there was evidence of forced entry at the enclosure and the search for Maki went into high gear — the lemur requires “special care.”

Maki, a 21-year-old male ring-tailed lemur, was stolen from the San Francisco Zoo on Oct. 13, 2020. Maki made it back home after being found by a 5-year-old boy in a Daly City, Calif. park.

Two days later, witness footage emerged of a man with distinct tattoos, suspected of being McGilloway, walking a lemur on a leash at Treasure Island. A 5-year-old boy spotted Maki about 10 miles away at a Daly City playground just a few hours after the video was taken. Maki was dehydrated, hungry and pretty perturbed when rescuers found and returned him to his home at the zoo.

McGilloway was arrested that same night when officers responded to a shoplifting report in San Rafael — he was driving a stolen dump truck at the time.

McGilloway jumped bail on the state charges levied in San Francisco Superior Court for burglarizing the zoo but was picked up in LA earlier this month where he is now in custody and awaits extradition to face the music back in the Bay Area.

From his cell, he appeared for his arraignment Monday by video link.


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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.