Two teens charged with stealing meerkat from exhibit at the Kansas City Zoo

KANSAS CITY, Missouri - Two teenagers are accused of going into the Kansas City Zoo and stealing a meerkat from the exhibit.

Prosecutors charged 19-year-old Jacob M. Bradley and 17-year-old Justin R. Santhuff, both of Kansas City, Missouri, with one count of felony of stealing.

On Nov. 4, staff members of the Kansas City Zoo reported a meerkat missing. The staff was unsure if the meerkat was taken by a person or by a predator because the meerkats were in an open-air exhibit.

A week later, on Nov. 12, Overland Park officers were called to a PetCo after a meerkat turned up at the pet store. Employees said somebody dropped off a meerkat inside a glass aquarium covered in a towel.

Witnesses told police a white male dressed in a hat, hooded sweatshirt and jeans walked up to the front of the store and placed the aquarium in front of the store.

Overland Park police discovered the meerkat was the meerkat that had been stolen from the Kansas City Zoo.

On Nov. 17, Overland Park police received a call from a female saying that Bradley was involved in the theft of the meerkat.

The female said that Bradley and Santhuff took a baby stroller into the zoo with a make-shift cage and some blankets. They captured one of the meerkats and left the zoo.

According to court documents, two days later, an anonymous caller contacted the TIPS Hotline and said Santhuff was involved in the theft of the meerkat. The tipster said Santhuff bragged to people about stealing the meerkat and had even posted it on his Facebook page.

On Dec. 15, officers arrested Santhuff and Bradley on unrelated charges, but they were questioned about the meerkat.

Santhuff admitted to the crime, but Bradley requested his attorney.

The recommended bond was set at $5,000.

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