Burglars break into Lion House at Lincoln Park Zoo
BY TINA SFONDELES Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org Apr 10, 2011 02:21AM
1ShareE-MailPrintAs targets for burglaries go, this one’s a head-scratcher.
Someone broke into the nearly century-old Kovlar Lion House at Lincoln Park Zoo early Saturday morning. After getting inside, they even forced open a steel door that leads into the moat where tigers sometimes roam in their outdoor enclosure — where the offenders, for reason still unknown, left a ladder.
But the burglars were fortunate, it turns out: the tigers were not outside but in a secure indoor enclosure at the time. And whoever broke in also did not access areas where any of the lions, leopards or other big cats were being held overnight, zoo officials assured.
The break-in happened sometime between midnight and 6:20 a.m.. It was discovered by employees arriving to work just before 7 a.m., Lincoln Park Zoo spokeswoman Sharon Dewar said.
Police said the thieves broke a door window and gained access to the building’s basement. There they were able to get inside an office and locker rooms assigned to zookeepers, police said.
Dewar said zookeeper radios and a charger were stolen, along with a can of pepper spray. The stolen items were worth an estimated $3,000 to $3,500, but “we are still assessing if anything else was stolen,” Dewar said.
Officials are puzzled about how the ladder got into the moat. Police said the burglars forced open a steel door that led to the moat from inside the basement. Dewar said she thinks the ladder was tossed into the moat from the outside. No one could say where the ladder came from or whether thieves used it during the crime.
“I don’t know what they were doing with the ladder,’’ Dewar said.
No one was in custody Saturday night in connection with the crime — and no description of the offenders were available.