Three suspects in custody for Hattiesburg Zoo break-in - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Three suspects in custody for Hattiesburg Zoo break-in

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Three suspects are now in custody in connection with the Hattiesburg Zoo break-in.

The three are minors so their names have not been released.

Police say the ages range from 14 to 17.

All three are charged with commercial burglary.

Authorities say these three males broke into the Hattiesburg Zoo's concession stand and stole candy and other items.

Police say they believe they were looking for cash.

No animals were harmed.

"We take safety very seriously at the Hattiesburg Zoo. We want people to be safe even when they're not supposed to be in the zoo," says Rick Taylor.

Taylor is the Director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission for the Hattiesburg Zoo. He says the commission has a security team that watches over all of their facilities.

"We have security measures in place. We have security devices."

Surveillance cameras caught the three suspects on video, and there are also devices in place to keep the animals safe, as well as to keep people protected from the animals.

"A lot of secondary locks are put in place to make sure the animals are not only kept out of harms way themselves, but people who come in are also kept out of harm," says Taylor.

Taylor assures that animals like the jaguar and lion are taken to a different holding at night, but gives fair warning to trespassers.

"It's not just tigers and jaguars. Some of the small animals are used to defending themselves pretty heavily."

Now that police have the three in custody, there's a possibility that two more suspects could be connected with the first break-in earlier this year.

"From what I understand there were two or three subjects on the video. It's a possibility that one of the three that we have in custody now could be one of the same ones as the first one," says Lt. Jon Traxler.

If you have anymore information about the suspects involved in the first break-in to the Hattiesburg Zoo, contact Crime Stoppers at 601-582-7867.

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