GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A Lucedale man accused of stealing a pet lemur and holding it for ransom is under arrest in Mobile. Authorities have charged James Edward Welborn, Jr. with possession of stolen property. He's awaiting extradition back to Mississippi where he could face even more charges.
George County Sheriff Dean Howell said the Ringtail Lemur is a family pet named Gizmo, valued at $1,500. The two-year-old lemur was taken from a home in Mobile during a burglary in January.
After Gizmo's owner offered a cash reward for the stolen lemur, investigators got a tip from someone who had seen the lemur in Welborn's possession. Investigators say Welborn thought he could ransom the animal, and had contacted its owner with information on Gizmo's whereabouts. But before Welborn's plan could pay off, authorities moved in and made an arrest.
Gizmo has since been reunited with its owner, and is reportedly doing fine.
According to Sheriff Howell, this case should cause other criminals to think twice because, "We don't put up with any monkey business in George County."