Monkey Business: Teens Plead Guilty to Stealing Zoo Animals

A monkey stolen from the West Palm Beach Zoo.
A monkey stolen from the West Palm Beach Zoo. (WPEC)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS/AP) Three teen boys pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing animals from the Palm Beach Zoo in September, and abdandoning them in cages and containers in a shed.

Jonathan Lopez and Sean Patrick Harrison, both 18, and Magdiel Cortes, 19, pleaded guilty to lesser charges of burglary of a structure, grand theft over $300 and misdemeanor cruelty to animals in exchange for of four years probation and 500 hours of community service.

They were facing felony charges of burglary and animal cruelty. They were also ordered to pay $1,200 each in restitution.

Lopez, Harrison and Cortes took Elsie, a Goeldi's monkey, and Chalupa, a green-cheeked Amazon parrot, and squirrel monkeys Simone, Sallie and Dougie.

Police found the animals in less than 24 hours.

CBS affiliate WPEC reported that the zoo's curator of live collections, Keith Lovett, said it took the animals several months to recover from the stress they suffered. Due to the hot conditions one of the monkeys encountered, he now has some kidney problems.

Lovett said, "We hope the defendants learn from this experience. We hope they realize their actions did have strong consequences, especially to the animals," reported WPEC.