Over the past two weeks, and on two separate occasions, zookeepers from Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo reported a total of 11 animals missing from their secure enclosures.
The Santa Fe College Police Department told BuzzFeed News they were able to locate seven of the missing animals after a tip came in, but they are still investigating what happened and where the remaining animals are located.
On Wednesday, police arrested a suspect, 20-year-old Sedrick Tyrezi Price, who lived in the apartment where the seven animals were found. He was charged with grand theft, police confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
On May 24, and then again on May 31, students and employees of the zoo discovered during routine morning checkups that several animals had mysteriously vanished.
Among the missing were two gopher tortoises, two box turtles, a squirrel monkey, a skink, two red-footed tortoises, and another three box turtles. The box turtles, red-footed tortoises, skink, and squirrel monkey were recovered from Price's apartment in town this week.
Jay Anderson, the communications manager for Santa Fe College who's been working with local police, told BuzzFeed News that because it's still an active investigation, they cannot release any more information at this time. But they have been actively fielding tips about who may have taken the animals, why, and how.
"The SFPD said evidence at the zoo indicated the animals were forcefully taken from their enclosures, and are continuing their investigation in hopes of finding the remaining [four] missing animals," Anderson said.