The San Francisco Zoo may have made a monkey out of the man who graciously returned Banana-Sam, the celebrity critter who was brazenly snatched from the zoo on Friday.
Just a few hours after the squirrel monkey was discovered missing last week, SF Weekly talked to Tanya Peterson, the executive director of the zoo, who called on the thief or thieves to return the beloved monkey -- and followed it by saying "no questions asked."
But that no-questions-asked policy only applied until the monkey was back in its cage. It seems Banana-Sam's safe return has led to nothing but questions -- with many questions directed at the man who returned the monkey a day after it went missing.
"I'm not asking any questions, so I have held up my end of the bargain," Peterson told us. "I am prepared to give the reward."
Police, however, have asked the
zoo to hold off on giving the man his $5,000 reward, because, well, they have too many questions
for him. "Regardless of the no-questions-asked on the zoo's part, we
still have to do our investigation," police spokesman Officer Carlos Manfredi said.
"We appreciate that he found the monkey, but we are still going to ask
First question: Did he have anything to do with the monkey's disappearance?
According to zookeepers, the man's story
just doesn't add up. While he told officials he spotted Banana-Sam near Stern Grove and coaxed him into a backpack, zookeepers say the likelihood that he was able to get the prickly primate to come to him and then slip it inside a bag is slim to none.
Still, Peterson -- whose job is to care for the monkey, not catch crooks -- is just happy Banana-Sam is back.
"My take was 'let's just get the monkey back and move on,'" Peterson said.
There's no word on whether the man who returned Banana-Sam has asked for
his $5,000 reward. But either way it seems police aren't ready to buy his story just yet.
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