Trip to sell monkey in Grand Junction a real zoo for woman

SPECIAL TO THE SENTINEL—A Missouri woman told police she was robbed of her monkey after arranging sale of the animal online and driving to Grand Junction to meet the buyer.

A Missouri woman told police she drove to Grand Junction to sell a monkey to a stranger, but ended up being robbed of her pet primate Monday morning and shot in the face with pepper spray.

The woman, who wasn’t identified by authorities, told detectives she’d met a man online and remained in telephone contact with him before agreeing to complete the deal in the parking lot of La Quinta Inn, 2761 Crossroads Blvd., on Monday, Grand Junction police spokeswoman Kate Porras said.

The woman, who was prepared to sell her black cap Capuchin monkey for $7,500, was pepper-sprayed in the motel parking lot and the suspect ran away with the monkey pet carrier, police said. It happened around 6 a.m.

The suspect was described to police as a Middle Eastern male, 35 to 40 years old, 5-foot-5, with a thin build and a short beard. He was wearing glasses, a blue shirt and possibly a vest.

While the monkey at issue is illegal to have in Colorado, Parks and Wildlife spokesman Mike Porras said no charges will be pursued against the woman by his agency.

“Our officers do use discretion,” he said. “Most likely, the officers here weighed the circumstances.”

Unlawful possession of non-native or exotic wildlife is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine up to $1,000, among other penalties, Porras said. The Colorado Department of Agriculture also has jurisdiction in the matter, although it wasn’t clear if the agency was pursuing it.

Police asked anyone with information about Monday’s incident or the suspect to call 970-242-6707, or Crime Stoppers of Mesa County at 970-241-STOP.


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