California man to plead guilty to stealing critically endangered lemur from zoo, DOJ says

A 19-year-old man has agreed to plead guilty to stealing a critically endangered lemur from a Southern California zoo last year, the Associated Press reports. 

Aquinas Kasbar will plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of unlawfully taking an endangered species, the U.S. Department of Justice announced in a release on Monday. Kasbar was arrested after he allegedly broke into the Santa Ana Zoo during after-hours on July 27, and took 32-year-old Isaac, the oldest ring-lemur in captivity in North America. 

Kasbar reportedly used bolt cutters to enter an enclosure that housed lemurs and capuchin monkeys, according to KTLA. In doing so, he also allowed several of the primates to escape, federal prosecutors said. 

Kasbar then placed Isaac in a plastic container with no ventilation and left the lemur in front of a Newport Beach hotel the next day. Court documents reveal that Kasbar purportedly left one note that read, "Lemur (with tracker)," and another that read, "This belongs to the Santa Ana Zoo and it was taken last night please bring it to police." 

RELATED: Browse through a slideshow of adorable lemurs: 

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A lemur opens a Christmas package filled with food on December 23, 2015 at the zoo in La Fleche, northwestern France. / AFP / JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER (Photo credit should read JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images)
Two ring-tailed Lemurs at Taronga Zoo play with their Christmas treats designed to challenge and encourage their natural skills in Sydney on December 4, 2015. AFP PHOTO / William WEST / AFP / WILLIAM WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
WHIPSNADE, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 28: Baby ring tailed lemurs make their first public appearance at the ZSL zoo on April 28, 2015 in Whipsnade, England. PHOTOGRAPH BY Tony Margiocchi / Barcroft Media (Photo credit should read Tony Margiocchi / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
WHIPSNADE, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 28: Baby ring tailed lemurs make their first public appearance at the ZSL zoo on April 28, 2015 in Whipsnade, England. PHOTOGRAPH BY Tony Margiocchi / Barcroft Media (Photo credit should read Tony Margiocchi / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
A male crowned lemur is pictured at the La Haute Touche zoological park in Obterre, on July 18, 2014. Two pairs of twin crowned lemurs were born on May 2014 at the zoo. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANT (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images)
A female crowned lemur and her baby which was born on May 5, 2014, are pictured at the La Haute Touche zoological park in Obterre, on July 18, 2014. Two pairs of twin crowned lemurs were born on May 2014 at the zoo. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANT (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images)
SCARBOROUGH, ON - MARCH 31: A general view of Lemurs during a visit by Canadian Director David Douglas to promote his new IMAX 3D documentary 'Island of Lemurs: Madagascar' at the Toronto Zoo on March 31, 2014 in Scarborough, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)
BRISTOL, ENGLAND - MAY 22: A Mongoose lemur looks out from its enclosure at Bristol Zoo Gardens on May 22, 2013 in Bristol, England. A two-week old lemur called Rascal is one of a number of baby animals, birds and reptiles have been born at Bristol Zoo Gardens now that spring has finally sprung. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BRISTOL, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Newborn ring-tailed lemur Rascal is carried by its mother Roxy at Bristol Zoo Gardens on May 22, 2013 in Bristol, England. The two-week old is one of a number of baby animals, birds and reptiles that have been born at Bristol Zoo Gardens now that spring has finally sprung. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
'Dimbi', a blue-eyed black lemur cub (Eulemur flavifrons) is pictured at the zoo of Mulhouse, northeastern France, on April 19, 2013. There's currently less than 2,000 blue-eyed black lemurs into the wild. AFP PHOTO / SEBASTIEN BOZON (Photo credit should read SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP/Getty Images)
Joviana, a lemur, gazes at the camera during a media tour at the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina, Tuesday, May 7, 2013. The lemur was the inspiration for the Kratt Brothers' (Chris and Martin), talking Coquerel's Sifaka, 'Zoboo' on the PBS children's show 'Zoboomafoo'. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
Lemur Catta, Zoo of Prague (Photo by Marka/UIG via Getty Images)
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While most of the other animals that had escaped were later caught, prosecutors said Kasbar's reckless theft cost the zoo $8,500 in damages.

Kasbar was previously connected to a string of robberies that targeted unoccupied homes in the Newport Beach area, KLTA notes. He faces a total of 32 charges, including 29 felony counts, as a result of those incidents, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

In regards to Kasbar's most recent case, he faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $100,000 fine. 

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