BARABOO, Wis. — An Indiana man has been named as the suspect in a Wisconsin zoo break-in that led to the escape of several animals.
Aaron Wayne Hovis, 34, of West Lafayette, Indiana has been identified by the Baraboo Police Department as the person believed to have cut off locks on several exhibits and damaged a door on another enclosure in the middle of the night on June 7 at the Oschner Park Zoo.
Two otters and two great horned owls were declared missing as a result of the vandalism.
According to the Baraboo Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department‘s Facebook page, the two otters, Mitch and Moe, were found later the same day by kayakers and were brought back to the zoo.
It took a little longer to get the two owls, Jerry and Linda, back home.
Jerry was located about three days later about four miles outside of Baraboo city limits. When he was found, parks officials say he had two fractures in his wing, including one that would require several weeks of therapy to heal.
Linda was a bit more elusive. She was not found until three weeks later on June 28. Police and a zoo intern were able to capture her from a garden that was in close proximity to the zoo.
The zoo did not have a current status on the owl’s health but did say she would undergo a full vet exam.
It’s unknown why Hovis allegedly destroyed the locks on the animals’ cages.
The Kenosha News reports Hovis has no apparent ties to any animal rights groups.
As of June 29, he is in the Jasper County Jail in Indiana in connection to bribery and theft charges filed on June 9 and intimidation and resisting law enforcement charges filed on June 17.
Baraboo police say they are working with their local district attorney’s office on potentially extraditing Hovis back to Wisconsin.