The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Footage helps locate suspects in zoo vandalism


May 16, 2018

CLOVIS — Monkeys might not be the type to see, hear or speak evil, according to the old maxim — but that didn’t account for witnesses or security footage, which helped locate suspects in a zoo vandalism incident last week.

Fortunately, three marmosets affected by the destructive antics Friday morning were not harmed or lost when four individuals scaled the zoo fence and broke the window of their enclosure, said Hillcrest Park Zoo Director Vince Romero.

Staff were notified of the intrusion by a witness who saw the group climbing the two fences around the zoo, he said, and police advised Monday that some juveniles were being questioned about the incident.

“They didn’t pay (to enter),” Romero said. “They jumped the fence, got in the zoo, and then they went into the primate area and kicked the window out and then hopped over two fences to get out.”

Surveillance images of the suspects were shared online, requesting public help in identifying them.

Clovis Police Capt. Roman Romero said Tuesday the investigation is ongoing, but the suspects had been identified and more information would be available after interviews were completed.

Vince Romero said it’s probably been about 20 years since the last comparable incident. As to what might motivate the effort of scaling two fences (including barbed wire), he chalked it up to “just causing havoc.”

Of three marmosets in the exhibit, two remained inside and one was found nearby, by the primate house.

A glass company quickly repaired the broken window, and the zoo director said he was mainly grateful the animals were unharmed.

“Hopefully (the perpetrators) just learn a lesson and not to do that again,” he said. “It's sad to see that happen. (The marmosets) could have got out or hurt, but we were lucky.”


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