“She said ‘sorry:'” 1 in custody, 2 sought in case of lynx taken from Animal Gardens in Delavan

DELAVAN -- A pair of seven-week old Siberian Lynx have been returned to their owners at the Animal Gardens petting zoo.

Police have confirmed one person is in custody and two others are being sought in connection with the theft of the exotic animals.

Animal Gardens officials say two seven-week-old lynx, Mogley and Blue, were returned by a pair of women Wednesday night, July 5th. They said Thursday they want the thieves to face justice, but they're mostly relieved that Mogley and Blue appear in good health.

"They look fine. They're very healthy and they weren't dehydrated. They were hungry. We fed them,"" caretaker Danette Vincenti said.

The cats were taken from Animal Gardens on Monday night, July 3rd. Surveillance video released by police on Wednesday shows a truck with a distinctive rear stripe leaving the parking lot.

"It's an uncommon truck, and having the stickers, having the decals and everything on it made it distinguishable and I think that was another reason they realized it wasn't something they'd be able to hide too long," Raymond Clark, Town of Delavan police chief said.

Animal Gardens' baby lynx

Animal Gardens' baby lynx

On Wednesday night, a call came into the petting zoo from an anonymous woman who said she knew where the lynx were.

Animal Gardens' baby lynx

"They parked somewhere down the road and they walked the cats to the park and turned them over to Mike, our landscaper here," Vincenti said.

"Two girls approached me and they each had one of the lynx in their shirt, like, jacket," Michael Cummins said. "She said 'sorry.' That's about it -- all that came out of her mouth."

They were gone by the time police arrived.

Vincenti said it was vital that the lynx were returned quickly because they just started eating meat. They're still learning to chew at this point. Because of that, Vincenti said she has little sympathy for those involved in the theft, however apologetic they may be.

Animal Gardens' baby lynx

"I'm very happy and I hope he gets charged. It was a malicious. Just a really nasty thing to do to jeopardize the health of such beautiful cats," Vincenti said.

Animal Gardens' baby lynx

Police said they're looking for at least two more suspects. Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 262-728-9777.

Vincenti said the lynx will need a checkup at the vet, but on Thursday, they were looking good.

Next Stop

Vincenti confirmed an online listing posted June 25 advertising the Lynx for sale is authentic. She said Animal Gardens can only afford to house and care for the two adult lynx it already has - the parents of Mogley and Blue. She says it's common for one zoo to sell animals to another and added they will wait to complete the sale until the end of the summer, once the baby lynx are older.

"I put them on there and then I interview the people that call me," Vincenti said, "They must be USDA; they can’t just be anybody."

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