Fort Myers, Florida (News-Press) -- Investigators say two gibbons reported missing from a Nebraska home earlier this week have been found in Florida.
The small, black-and-white primates were taken from Nancy Stephens' Doniphan home sometime before dawn on Monday. Stephens has owned Caylee and Cody since they were babies. She studies behavioral sciences, but the animals are also her pets. She told police they are valued at $25,000 each.
Stephens said she suspected the ape-nappers were twin brothers who had lived with her over the summer: Jacob and Michael Ruehlman.
On Wednesday, the Lee County Sheriff's Office learned the gibbons were being brought to Fort Myers.
owner of The Talkin' Monkey Project Inc. in Clewiston, Florida, knew both Stephens and the Ruehlman brothers through Facebook.
After hearing about the
theft, Misotti was able to get in touch with Jacob and convinced him to
bring the gibbons to her, as she has a license for Class 1 Primates.
Jacob agreed and they were to meet at the Waffle House at I-75 and Palm
Shortly before 3 a.m. Thursday, the
Lee County Sheriff's Office conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle that
matched the description for Jacob and Michael Ruehlman. Inside the
vehicle, deputies discovered two gibbons in a cage in the backseat.
The gibbons were turned over to a sanctuary for safe-keeping while the investigation is on-going.
and Michael Ruehlman were arrested and charged with Dealing in Stolen
Property. They are also facing charges from FWC for not having
sufficient permits, as the gibbons are endangered, as well as possible
pending charges from Hall County Sheriff's Office in Nebraska.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.