Sources: KXII – By Amy Jenson | All Things Michael
WYNNEWOOD, Okla. — An arson fire Thursday morning at the GW Interactive Zoo killed several reptiles and burned a recording studio.
Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes said there are still no suspects in the arson, but they’re hoping that’ll change once they review surveillance video.
The building that houses the alligators was completely destroyed by fire.
Entertainment Director Joe Schreibvogel, also known as Joe Exotic, says it will cost a quarter of a million dollars to fix, and federal court records show he’s already in bankruptcy.
“The building can be replaced the equipment can be replaced but Michael Jackson’s alligators cannot be replaced,” Schreibvogel said.
Schreibvogel maintains that one of two alligators killed in the fire was once owned by the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The other alligator reportedly once owned by Jackson suffered severe smoke inhalation and is recovering.
Schreibvogel says he’s still in shock that someone could intentionally set fire to this facility. “Devastated, heartbroke,” he said, describing his feelings. “It is more of disgust if somebody has an issue with the zoo or an issue with me personally then take it up with me. These animals didn’t deserved to be burned to death.”
Rhodes said while there’s no suspect right now. He hopes that surveillance video will lead them to a person of interest. Rhodes says whoever set this fire would have to have knowledge of the animal park and plan the crime in advance.
He also says items were stolen…but wouldn’t comment on what exactly was taken. “Many times an arson fire may be used to cover a burglary or a theft to destroy evidence,” Rhodes said. “And that is a very strong possibility in this case.”
Schreibvogel says he’s received threats before, and said this may be a form of harassment. “There’s been allegations that these are results of animal rights group that may be targeting the park in the form of harrassment and even vandalizm,” Rhodes said.
Schreibvogel says the park will remain open. “Starting tonight (Friday) we have a security company who will have armed security guards on the park 24/7.”
Rhodes says he believes more information will be available next week.
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