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The streets of Williston are safer this week thanks to the dogged pursuit of Police Chief Dennis Strow and his officers in an investigation that culminated Friday with the capture of a three-year fugitive.
The fugitive, first spotted in December 2010, had successfully evaded capture despite being spotted around town on several occasions.
Danny Stevens was the first to report him after he spotted a trespasser in his yard the day after Christmas that year.
Standing about three feet tall with orange/brown hair and a moustache, the interloper was as naked as the day he was born.
Stevens, utilizing Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, took aim and fired a solitary shot but missed. He then went on to alert neighbors of the trespasser who had no regard for personal property. Over the next few weeks, more random sightings were reported but a capture was not forthcoming. The trespasser was fast and sneaky.
A few months ago, the naked beast was seen in the woods near Joyce Bullock Elementary.
The Williston Police Department, realizing this case was beyond its scope of expertise, called in the best resource it could: the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Last Friday, after a three-year pursuit they finally lured their prey into a trap and captured the Patas Monkey that has been loose for years.
There have been many theories how the Patas Monkey, a native of West Africa, got to Williston, including the old Tarzan movies, as enhancement to river tours and escaping from a research facility.
While no one knows with certainty how it came to town, Chief Strow said Friday he is certain that is now located to a safe environment outside Levy County where it will live out the rest of its days.
And maybe, just maybe, there might be an extra yam–one of its favorite foods–doled out for Thanksgiving dinner.
A video of the monkey can be found on our website at www. willistonpioneer.com.