By Sam McPhee For Daily Mail Australia
Published: 03:31 BST, 4 May 2021 | Updated: 03:35 BST, 4 May 2021
The man who broke into Wellington Zoo and tried to snatch a monkey says love pushed him to steal the primate to take home to his girlfriend as a birthday gift.
John Owen Casford, who was 23 at the time, was jailed for almost three years for smashing his way in to the squirrel monkey enclosure at Wellington Zoo at 3am on April 7, 2018.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Following his recent release, Casford revealed that a special moment between the monkey and his girlfriend drove him to break into the zoo.
The pair were on a date earlier that day and Casford said the squirrel monkey 'stuck it's little paw up on the glass like something out of a movie'.
John Casford told New Zealand Today he stole a squirrel monkey from Wellington Zoo as a birthday gift for his girlfriend
'I thought f**k, that's what I'm gonna get her,' he told . 'I'm gonna go get her that monkey.'
The adorable encounter was enough to convince Casford, who was admittedly 'high as a kite' at the time, to enter the zoo through an unsecured gate and smash two padlocks to sneak into the enclosure.
'I was too scared to put my hand in there, so I lit the lighter, I saw his little eyes look at it, and I grabbed it and shoved it in my bag,' he