Auto theft suspect arrested with monkey from Volusia County

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Both a Volusia County man and a monkey were taken into custody after a car theft in Holiday.

Cody Blake Hession was arrested on an auto theft charge on Friday morning by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. They said the 23-year-old drove the stolen vehicle from St. Pete into a ditch off U.S. 19.

However, they weren’t anticipating his passenger. Deputies say Hession didn’t have a permit for his Capuchin monkey, which could lead to more charges. 

On body camera video worn by deputies, you can hear them explain what they will have to do in this special set of circumstances. 

“It's gonna have to go to a sanctuary here, temporarily, until you can figure out if you can get your licensing stuff squared away," a Pasco county deputy tells Hession. 

According to Hession's arrest report, he was born in Largo, and his most recent address is in Holly Hill, Florida.   Hession told deputies he got the monkey -- a male named "Monk" -- from a breeder in South Carolina a few years ago.  He told deputies that South Carolina doesn’t require permits or licenses for pet monkeys. 

Residents in Holly Hill say his pet primate is well-known in the neighborhood. 

“All the time, driving with the monkey wrapped around his neck. The day he moved in, I noticed the monkey," a neighbor told FOX 35. 

Florida wildlife officials took possession of the monkey, and it was transported it to the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary pending the resolution of the case, but not before Hession got a chance to say goodbyes with an embrace and a kiss. 

Deputies said it’s a first, since they never know what they're getting into when they go on a call. 

“First thing is, how was this monkey going to react to me? The other one was like, well, I kind of want to pet the monkey," one deputy said.