Oscar Leiva, 21, (pictured) allegedly stole his neighbor’s pet monkey and sold it for $900. (Miami-Dade jail)

Florida man steals, sells neighbor’s monkey for cash, police say

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Vanessa Di Gennaro told authorities she was cleaning her house in Homestead, Florida, Sunday and put her monkey, Zoe, in the backyard. When she came out, Zoe, a white-tufted marmoset with a value of $2,900, was gone. 

"She's a very delicate animal on top of everything; she's not like a dog that you can leave alone. They get into things, they hurt themselves really easy. You have to watch them," she said of her companion animal, which she got because she experiences seizures and anxiety.

"She's my baby; she's my kid," Di Gennaro said. "She goes everywhere with me. I love her to death."

Oscar Leiva, 21, said he found the monkey in his kitchen, but it ran away, WTVJ reported. However, a witness said that Leiva told him he took the monkey and sold it for $900.

WTVJ reported Tuesday that police recovered the monkey and it was returned to its owner days later. She had been offering a $2,000 reward.

Leiva was charged with grand theft. 

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