Stolen San Francisco Monkey Found

A stolen squirrel monkey was found on Saturday, New Year’s Eve night, and returned to his home in a San Francisco Zoo.

The monkey, known as Banana Sam, was stolen from the San Francisco Zoo on Thursday. The thieves apparently cut through a gate and then through a mesh around the monkey exhibit. After the theft, the zoo kept the 17 other squirrel monkeys indoors for their own protection. The reward for the safe return of the two pound monkey was set at $5,000.

According to, Banana Sam was found in Stern Grove Park which is approximately a mile from the San Francisco Zoo. He was “trembling, hungry, and thirsty,” MSNBC reported. A physical exam showed the 17-year-old squirrel monkey was healthy.

A bystander found Banana Sam peeping out of the bushes and “managed to coax the monkey into his backpack," Police Spokesman Carlos Manfredi said.

“We are so thankful to the community and to the San Francisco Police Department for this happy ending,” Zoo Director Tanya Peterson said in a statement according to The Associated Press. “I know it's been extremely stressful for zoo staff during this time but we are grateful Banana Sam is back at the zoo where he belongs.”

Reuters reported that a mock Twitter feed pretending to be from the lifted squirrel monkey gave regular anecdotal “updates.” One such post after he was found read, “That's the last time I ever crawl into someone’s backpack who says we’re going to an ‘awesome party, dude.’”

No arrests have been made and there are still no suspects in Banana Sam’s theft. Police are not counting out any possible suspects including the person who found Banana Sam as a possible perpetrator.

"We're looking at every possible avenue, including the bystander," Manfredi said, according to The Associated Press.

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