Police: South Florida man stole, tried to sell neighbor's monkey

- 'Zoe' is back at home and Vanessa Di Gennaro is breathing a little easier. For her, Zoe is not just any pet, but a companion pet that helped with Di Gennaro's anxiety and seizures.

For the last few days, this mother-to-be went without the support she has come to rely on over the past two years.

"Haven't slept, haven't really eaten, which is terrible in my pregnancy. But I just really felt like I missed my other half. "

Di Gennaro says she was close to losing her 2-year-old white tufted marmoset monkey forever.

"They were trying to sell her and they actually already had her sold."

Di Gennaro says it was Friday that Zoe was snatched from her backyard, and she says her neighbor Oscar Leiva is the culprit.  She says she saw videos of Zoe on someone's shoulder that were clearly taken inside Leiva's home.

She confronted him over the phone and then called police, who arrested and charged him.  But at first, there was still no sign of Zoe.

"I actually got an anonymous tip thanks to the news," Di Gennaro continued.  "Someone called me and said, 'Look, I saw your monkey on TV and they tried to sell her to me.'"

Now she says she wants Leiva to pay for what he did to Zoe, who is back safe, but "a little skinny."

"I hope he gets what he deserves," she added.  "Honestly, I do. What he put her through, he could have killed her."

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Police: South Florida man stole, tried to sell neighbor's monkey
  • Survey: 949 Key deer survived Irma landfall in Florida Keys
  • Lyft driver accused of sexually assaulting 16-year-old passenger
  • Florida panther killed by vehicle; 24th death this year
  • Protesters make point at white supremacist's speech
  • Person of interest sought in attempted kidnapping at Aquatica
  • Florida Keys woman paddleboards with pet chicken
  • Woman who runs over toddler dragged from SUV, beaten
  • State says law enforcement ready for UF speech
  • Large sinkhole opens up in Marion County neighborhood