One of two loose pet lemurs captured in North Miami Beach after running wild when thieves tried to snatch them from their cage. (Source: CBS4)
MIAMI (CBSMiami) - It was a case of lemurs on the loose in one North Miami Beach neighborhood early Monday morning.
Julio Hincapie, who owns the two lemurs, said someone cut the locks on their cage and tried to steal them around 2 a.m. The lemurs, however, had other ideas and ran wild through the neighborhood in the 2000 block of NE 73rd Street. They charged at neighbors, launched themselves at police and at one point jumped on a toddler and scratched her face.
"They were scared. They were running around, everyone chasing them. There were a lot of lights," said Hincapie. "They were scared."
Rosemary Alonzo will never forget the screeching sound one made.
"A terrible sound, like a 'rowr', very strong," she said.
Surveillance video at her house shows a family quickly walking past with a lemur hot on their trail.
"I saw this lady running with a kid in her hands and a gentleman, it was terrible," said Alonzo.
Her German Shepherd Thor went haywire trying to get it, as it walked the top of the fenceline.
"It was trying to fight and trying to scream at the dog. Really bad," said Alonzo.
One of the lemurs terrified a two year old girl as she got out of the car with her mother. It jumped on her and scratched her face just under her eye.
It took a while, but police and Hincapie finally managed to round-up the little guys and put them back in their cage.
"In my 17 years, I have never seen anything like this. This is the first time I've been dispatched to a call like this," said North Miami Beach Sgt. Richard Rand.
Rand said when he first got the call he thought he was being 'punked' by his fellow officers. But nope, it was just another day in South Florida.
Neighbors familiar with the little lemurs said they are normally no threat to this neighborhood.
"There's nothing wrong with the monkeys. They're very peaceful, we feed them and everything," said Carlos Lezcano.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has launched an investigation into the incident. Hincapie was ticketed for having an expired permit for the lemurs, and for allowing them to escape. But FWC officers say the caging for the animals is actually better than the state requires. They say he will be allowed to keep the animals.
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