SAN FRANCISCO -- A Los Angeles man was arrested at the San Francisco Zoo on Sunday after he jumped a fence and took off running across various animal exhibits because he didn't want to pay the $15 entrance fee, authorities said.

Justin Montgomery, 24, was arrested on trespassing charges about 11:40 a.m. after officers arrived and found him detained by zoo security near the mandrill exhibit, San Francisco Police Sgt. Dennis Toomer said.

Zoo spokeswoman Abbie Tuller said that at 11:15 a.m., visitors saw the man jumping an exterior fence and running through the African Savanna exhibit, an enclosure occupied by such animals as giraffes, zebras and ostriches, before climbing over the fence back into the public viewing area.

Zoo staff spotted him again near the Greenies Conservation Corner, and the man again took off running from security into the upper level of the Primate Discovery Center before coming back down the stairway and jumping into a group of plants near the mandrills, an exhibit containing large, West African baboons.

Animal caretakers moved quickly to secure the mandrills into their enclosures, and security caught up with the man and detained him until San Francisco police arrived.

Montgomery told police he jumped the fence simply because he did not want to come up with the $15 entrance fee, Toomer said. The man did not injure any animals or employees during the incident, nor was he injured himself.


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"He basically didn't want to pay the fare to get into the zoo," Toomer said. "He wasn't trying to harm the animals or steal anything. He was just trying to get into the zoo for free."

Toomer said that while the man did not necessarily know which exhibit may be on the other side of the fence he first jumped, which is covered by green, transparent shading, he was likely aware that there could be animals on the other side. The man was cited for misdemeanor trespassing and released.

Contact Erin Ivie at eivie@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/erin_ivie.