Banana-Sam: Cops Asking Questions After Zoo Claimed "No Questions Asked"

Categories: Animals
The zoo said no questions asked. But for the police, this was not a case of monkey-see, monkey-do
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 him questions."

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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If the cops want to catch the monkey thief or thieves, all they need to do is roll down to the Grove this or any Saturday night, kick over some rocks to get the SDI punks out in the open under their flashlights, then start asking some questions laced with well-timed threats. They'll find out whodunit. Simple.

Critter Talk
Critter Talk

The moment I heard that Sam went into the backpack I said, "No way."  It would be wrong to reward someone who might have committed a crime.  It might encourage others to do the same.  However, I understand the zoo's point of view.  The most important thing is to retrieve the animal alive.  If there is no evidence this gentleman stole the monkey they should pay the reward.


"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."

Well, the monkey definitely got in the bag at some point either when stolen or in the park, so it is possible.

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