December 22, 2014

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Owner of spider monkey that bit worker previously charged in Fla.

Jacob Ruehlman

Jacob Ruehlman / LEE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

VERMILION – A man whose pet spider monkey bit a car dealership employee on Tuesday was previously charged in September after he was accused of stealing two monkeys from a home in Nebraska.

Jacob Ruehlman, 20, and his brother Michael, 20, were accused of sneaking into a woman’s house in Nebraska and taking two gibbons in September. They took the monkeys to Florida, where they were found by the Sheriff’s Department in Fort Myers, and the men were charged with dealing stolen property on Sept. 19, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

The monkeys were given to the Talkin’ Monkey Project in Florida where they are currently being cared for, according to their previous owner, Nancy Stephens.

However, on Tuesday Jacob Ruehlman was in Vermilion with his brother – whose name was not released — and another monkey named “Brody.” The monkey allegedly bit an employee at Pat O’Brien Chevrolet on 4545 Liberty Ave. on Tuesday afternoon, sending the employee to Mercy Regional Hospital, according to Vermilion police.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing and Ruehlman has not yet been charged. Police told the 20-year-old that he has to find a facility to quarantine the monkey for three days, according to Vermilion police.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.