Woman arrested after monkey stolen from Homestead pet shop

Milena Wood also accused of stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of coral from 2 other stores

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – An arrest has been made after a baby monkey was stolen from a southwest Miami-Dade pet store, and that crime was caught on camera.

There were two 5-week-old marmoset monkeys, worth about $7,000 each, in the care of Robert’s Pet Shop in Homestead, but one was recently stolen.

“Once we review the surveillance video camera, we see her coming over in, grabbing, tucking the monkey and just walking straight out the front door with it,” store manager Lazaro Sardinas said.

The video shows the moment the woman, later identified as Milena Wood, 53, reaches back and puts the monkey in a bag before quickly walking out.

Sardinas says Wood has been a customer for about 15 years.

“I would have never thought it would have been her,” he said.

The theft happened Friday afternoon. Hours later when it was time to feed the monkeys, they noticed one marmoset had disappeared.

Police say Wood tried calling Sardinas over the weekend to arrange a deal to get back the marmoset, and detectives traced the number back to her.

Wood was taken into custody on Monday.

Sardinas said the monkey has still not been found, but that police have evidence it may still be alive.

“They recovered a cage where the monkey was kept,” he said. “They have video of the monkey on Snapchat on Sunday.”

Wood is now facing three counts of grand theft as authorities say she also stole coral from two different aquarium stores along Bird Road on June 26. The total value of that coral was nearly $3,000.

“She had little containers filled with water already in her purse and she was grabbing pieces one by one and sticking them inside her purse,” said Exotic Aquariums manager Jose Fernandez.

“Hopefully she learns her lesson (and) doesn’t do this again,” Strictly Fish manager Juan Menendez said.

Wood bonded out of jail Tuesday afternoon but had nothing to say about the whereabouts of the monkey.

About the Authors:

Annaliese Garcia joined Local 10 News in January 2020. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami, where she studied broadcast journalism. She began her career at Univision. Before arriving at Local 10, she was with NBC2 (WBBH-TV) covering Southwest Florida. She's glad to be back in Miami!

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.