Suspect named in zoo break-in that led to animals escaping

BARABOO, Wis. (WMTV) – An Indiana man has been recognized because the suspect within the break-in at a Baraboo Zoo earlier this month that led to the escape of 4 animals.

In keeping with the Baraboo Police Division, its investigators have recognized Aaron Wayne Hovis because the suspect accused of damaging the locks on a number of animal displays at Ochsner Park Zoo and damaging the door on one other exhibit. The harm allowed two river otters and a pair of Nice Horned Owls to flee.

The police division has referred a depend of misdemeanor prison harm to property to the Sauk Co. District Lawyer’s Workplace, which may determine to press additional costs as warranted. A lieutenant with the police division advised NBC15 Information that investigators are nonetheless searching for the West Lafayette man, who’s an over-the-road truck driver.


Of the 4 animals that escaped throughout the break-in, just one Great Horned Owl stays on the unfastened. The police division famous that it’s believed “Linda,” as she is thought, remains to be within the space.

Two otters, Mitch and Moe, had been noticed by kayakers on the identical day because the break-in and had been situated shortly after. Linda’s fellow owl, Jerry, was discovered secure three days after the break-in with two fractures in his wing.

The parks division mentioned in Facebook post final Wednesday that the final sighting of Linda was on two days earlier, when she was seen roosting in a tree above a brand new llama barn. The parks division mentioned Linda is getting weaker, however she remains to be in a position to fly totally. This makes recapturing her a bit tough. Officers will solely have the ability to acquire her as soon as she is on the bottom and unable to fly right into a tree.


Zoo employees published tips on June 9 for the way to inform aside wild owls that roam the realm from those lacking from the Baraboo zoo.

Anybody who’s close to the Ochsner Park Zoo grounds and sees an owl on the bottom ought to name the Baraboo Police Division’s non-emergency line at 608-356-4895, as it could be Linda.


Ochsner Park Zoo specialist Ellen Gallagher mentioned on the day of the theft, police consider the suspect or suspects’ major motivation within the break-in was to launch the animals. Of their assertion figuring out Hovis because the suspect, the police division didn’t point out a doable motive.

Of the a number of different cages that had been opened when employees arrived on the zoo on June 7, these animals in different cages had been nonetheless current.


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