Two brothers from Sydney have pleaded guilty of transporting and intending to sell three stolen pygmy marmosets. The brothers, 23-year-old Jackson and 26-year-old Jesse George, were charged on Sunday but were not held responsible for the theft of the rare monkeys from the Symbio Wildlife Park in Helensburgh, south of Sydney on Friday.
The authorities received a tip and subsequently stopped the brothers in a car on Sunday afternoon at the Appin Hotel. An unnamed four-week-old monkey was found in the men’s car.
“He has shown complete contempt for police and their desperate attempts to reunite the animals with their family unit,” prosecutor Peter Robinson said about one of the brothers. “He has laughed and stated, ‘You have my phone, you’ll work it out’.”
The Guardian reports that Jackson was contacting another person named Ryan, who offered to sell the stolen monkey to him. The court documents reveal the exchange between the two men:
“Ay, check out my monkey”, Ryan texted Jackson with a picture of the monkey. Jackson responded: “That’s mad bro. Wanna sell it bruh?”
Apparently, Ryan told Jackson that he paid nothing for the pygmy marmoset but got it from the zoo the previous night. Ryan then asked the amount they could sell the animal for, to which Jackson said 500. The police could not find any clues about the whereabouts of the other pygmy marmosets on Jackson’s phone.
Magistrate Clare Farnan sentenced Jesse to a behavior bond for two years and fined him $1,500 for being an accomplice to the crime, the Guardian adds. Meanwhile, Jackson was granted bail until his sentencing on Jan. 10.
Zookeepers feared that the baby monkey would not survive if it spent more than 24 hours without its mother. It was then reunited with its mother and its previously stolen 10-month-old sister Sofia, which were found at the Campbelltown area on Sunday.
The father, Gomez, was subsequently found on Monday inside a box outside a vet clinic. These monkeys are native to South America and can grow up to eight inches long. The pygmy marmosets are sold up to AU$5,000 in the black market as pets.