Escaped monkey eats neighbors' mail, damages Sanford police car

Police say animal pulled molding off cruiser

SANFORD, Fla. – Sanford police on Monday cited the owner of a monkey that was caught on video shaking a street sign, marking the second time the monkey has gotten loose from his cage.

Police said shortly after 8 a.m. Monday they received a call from a resident in the Hidden Lakes subdivision reporting that a monkey was eating mail out of a mailbox.

AUDIO: 911 call about escaped monkey

Caller: "There's a big monkey in the street. It's on top of my car right now. It's like a baboon or something."
Dispatcher: "What is in the street?"
Caller: "A big monkey. There's going to be kids around."
Dispatcher: "You're saying a monkey?"
Caller: "Yes, yes."

When police arrived, the Macaque, named Zeek, decided to pull off the molding from a patrol car, officers said.

IMAGES: Monkey on the loose

According to police, Zeek was distracted with a bottle of water until his owner came and retrieved him.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said Zeek manipulated and twisted the clasps and latch on the locked door to escape from his cage.

The owner was cited for needing to update his critical incident plan and clean some rust on his cage. FWC said the owner completed the repairs and upgrades to the cage as officials were still on scene.

Police said that the monkey found on Monday is the same monkey that escaped from its owner and bit a person in 2012. FWC said the owner petitioned to get the monkey back from the animal sanctuary and was successful after agreeing to redo the monkey's cage.

FWC officials said the owner will be able to keep the monkey as long as he stays in compliance and maintains permits. If the monkey injures anyone else, it could be removed from the home.