San Rafael police have arrested a man they say stole a truck – and now he is wanted for theft by Maki, the San Francisco Zoo lemur, after officers said they discovered photos of the endangered animal on his cell phone.
Cory McGilloway, 30, was suspected on Friday of Maki’s disappearance, just a day after San Rafael police detained him in connection with the theft of a Marine Sanitary Service truck.
San Francisco police said they have secured an arrest warrant against McGilloway. It is the last twist in the case of the missing lemur that has transmitted the nation.
Maki was safely recovered at a playground in Daly City on Thursday night and taken back to the zoo.
Once McGilloway is released from Marin County Jail, he will be transferred to San Francisco County Jail and face charges of theft of an animal, burglary, looting and vandalism, police lieutenant Scott Ryan said in San Francisco on Friday.
San Rafael police received a report of a stolen truck near Anderson Drive on Thursday night around 6 p.m. 22, spokesman Lieutenant Dan Fink said Friday. Officers hauled the truck for several minutes before pulling it over and confronting McGilloway, police said.
The arresting officers requested to see McGilloway’s phone, and he gave his consent, Fink said, calling the request to see a suspect’s phone “standard investigation procedure.”
That was when the officers found pictures of Maki among the pictures. McGilloway was booked into Marin County Jail for theft of the truck, and officers notified San Francisco police of photos of Maki. Investigators from the San Francisco Police Department’s burglary unit interviewed McGilloway in jail, where he remained Friday night.
In another bizarre failure of fate, one of the San Rafael officers who arrested McGilloway had taken his child to the zoo on the day Maki’s disappearance was reported.
“There is no such thing as a coincidence in police work,” Fink said.
The 21-year-old lemur was found lurking near a Daly City preschool Thursday, just hours before McGilloway was taken into custody and two days after he disappeared from the Lipman Family Lemur Forest habitat.
Daly City police officers responded to reports of a lemur sighting at the Hope Lutheran Day School playground around 6 p.m. 17 Thursday. Maki remained hidden in a house on the school playground until dealers picked him up and returned him to the zoo about five miles away, police said.
Maki was “excited and dehydrated”, but otherwise healthy Thursday after her short period on lamb, said Tanya Peterson, the zoo’s CEO and president.
The ring-tailed lemur was monitored in isolation for a short recovery period before joining its peers in the wood-lined cabinet.
“It’s the perfect ending,” Peterson said.
Five-year-old James Trinh saw an animal resembling a lemur in the school parking lot and pointed it out to his mother, who picked him up from school. James is familiar with lemurs from visits to zoos, his father Sam Trinh said Friday.
Jacob’s mother and school quickly called Daly City police, who alerted animal control and zoological officials.
Maki jumped from the parking lot into the school playground, where he sought refuge in a miniature playhouse.
Zoo officials arrived shortly after. The assembled children, parents and teachers watched as guards lure the stray lemur into a transport cage – without the use of sedatives.
James and the other preschoolers got an unexpected lesson when they saw the rescue play out, school principal Cynthia Huang said Friday afternoon.
“The best thing is that they got a private show up close,” Huang said.
Zoo officials announced Friday that they would donate the $ 2,100 reward to the school as a token of gratitude for Maki’s safe return. The reward is calculated as $ 100 for each year of the lemur’s life.
For Huang, Maki’s performance at school was a rare moment of joy in an otherwise stressful time. The Christian preschool recently returned to personal lessons after months of virtual learning.
“We went back to school, but everything is so different for them,” she said. “I’m so glad they had a happy thing happen.”
James was “unaware” of his newfound fame for his role in Maki’s safe return, his father said.
“For him, it was just a normal day,” he said.
Nora Mishanec is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @NMishanec