It was a case of “monkey see, monkey don’t” for residents of Sanford, Florida. The city, located about 30 miles north of Orlando, was the site of a rather bizarre incident centered around an escaped monkey named Zeek. According to CBS News, the daring monkey got away from his home during the early hours on Monday.
No one noticed until one Sanford resident looked up and saw the monkey sitting on top of a mailbox calmly eating their neighbor’s mail. Hopefully, the little primate didn’t eat anything too important!
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) September 28, 2015
The startled individual contacted the Sanford Police Department at around 8 a.m. Although Public Information Officer Shannon Cordingly insisted to CBS News that officers in the area “are ready for anything,” it’s difficult to believe anyone isn’t a little taken aback when learning they were being asked to respond to a mail-munching monkey.
Officers soon arrived to the Hidden Lakes Subdivision of Sanford, which Time writes was the location of the original sighting. The five police officers were supported by members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Authorities had to exercise extreme caution, as they weren’t certain about the nature of the escaped exotic pet. There was a concern early on that Zeek would be dangerously hostile.
Police soon found the mischievous little monkey climbing a road sign in the area. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that Zeek then proceeded to shake the sign “to within an inch of its life.” Clearly, this furry little mischief-maker meant business. So did the Sanford police.
Officers used their patrol cars to block off portions of the road, making escape difficult for the animal. They then used their “secret weapon” to lure the monkey close enough to capture: a water bottle.
— Hartford Courant (@hartfordcourant) September 29, 2015
Cordingly said that their tactic worked… sort of. The monkey took the water bottle and then hopped on top of a patrol car. Showing no respect for authority whatsoever, the animal decided to spend some time removing the molding from the police car.
Undeterred, the authorities worked to keep the animal distracted until his owner could be located.
According to WFTV, they were able to find owner Jeff Jacques, who did have a proper permit to own the animal. He soon after joined Sanford authorities and wildlife officials in their attempts to corral the energetic monkey. In all, the chase took an additional 20 minutes. Finally, Jeff was about to lovingly coax Zeek “back into his arms.”
Cordingly considered that a “happy” close to the matter, pleased that the animal was returned safely to his owner before too much damage was done or anyone could be harmed. The public information officer admitted that officers sometimes “respond to some pretty serious, sad and horrific calls.”
“It’s nice to be able to respond to something of this nature, a little more lighthearted and have a happy ending.”
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission officers meanwhile worked to calm Sanford residents who might have been alarmed at the monkey’s Monday morning shenanigans.
Said FWC investigator Steve McDaniel, “[Jacques is] licensed and it doesn’t look like it was any fault of the owner.”
Greg Workman of Florida Fish and Wildlife told WFTV the monkey somehow escaped by managing to twist parts of his cage. WFTV also revealed that this isn’t the first time Zeek has gotten loose. Back in 2012, the crafty monkey got out of his enclosure and spent about four hours on the run.
Still, the Sanford Police Department maintained their sense of humor about the situation. They made posts about the incident on Facebook because, as Cordingly explained, “it’s a nice story to read and start off your Monday.” A video of the marauding little monkey was also posted to the department’s official account.
AJC noted, perhaps in a tongue-in-cheek manner, that there was no word whether charges would be filed.
[Image Credit: Sanford Police Department]