By RYAN DUNN
OTTAWA — Derek W. Mangas was caught partying with a stolen lemur.
Mangas, 21, of Leipsic, was sentenced Thursday to 20 days in jail and a $500 fine for breaking into the Putnam County Fair’s exotic animal petting zoo last year and taking the 6-month-old animal.
Mangas on June 29 approached the exhibit’s owners and asked if he could buy their lemur, a primate similar to a monkey, said county Assistant Prosecutor Todd Schroeder.
The couple said no, so he broke into the tent at 3 a.m. and took the animal, Schroeder said.
Photographs of Mangas and the lemur at Bowling Green surfaced on Facebook. That drew the attention of law enforcement, Schroeder said.
“Throughout the course of the summer, (Mangas) would have it on his shoulder as he attended parties, drinking beer,” Schroeder said.
The animal is valued at between $1,000 and $7,500, according to the indictment.
The theft of the lemur was “very disturbing” to its owners, Schroeder said.
After it was returned, the lemur became more aggressive and could not be used as it had been in the fair exhibit, Schroeder said.
Mangas, a former star athlete at Leipsic High School, previously pleaded guilty to fifth-degree felony charges of theft, and breaking and entering.
Putnam County Common Pleas Judge Randall Basinger on Thursday ordered him to spend 20 days in jail, with credit given for one day already served. The judge also placed him into intervention in lieu of conviction, and ordered three years of community control sanctions.
Mangas apologized in court for his actions.
“I take full responsibility for what I’ve done,” he said.
“Alcohol dependency” contributed to Mangas’ decisions, according to a court filing by his attorney, Gregory Hermiller. Mangas is undergoing treatment at Century Health, Hermiller said.
Mangas considered returning the lemur soon after the theft, but was concerned about the consequences, Hermiller said.
Hermiller told the judge that Mangas conducted research and cared for the lemur with his own money.
“He did make the effort to at least take care of it,” Hermiller said.