- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 1, 2015

WYNNEWOOD, Okla. (AP) - Reptiles once owned by the late musician Michael Jackson were among the animals that died in a fire at the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park in Wynnewood.

The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1IR1PV5 ) reports the March 26 fire, which authorities suspect to be arson, killed seven alligators and one crocodile and destroyed a video production studio. The reptiles that belonged to Jackson were retrieved from Neverland Ranch after his death.

“When they closed down Neverland Ranch and auctioned off his property, they asked us to come get all the reptiles and alligators and other stuff,” park owner Joe Schreibvogel said.

Schreibvogel believes animal rights activists are responsible for the fire. He claims that a large number of electronic storage devices used for recording his independently produced television show, “Joe Exotic TV,” were stolen by those who set the fire.

“They left all the computers and all the other equipment. Whoever it is has all my footage…60,000 hours of footage. Everything since 1999, the day we opened, is gone.”

Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes said they are cooperating with the state fire marshal and the FBI on the investigation. So far, no one has been arrested in the case. Rhodes said that his office is investigating leads that arson may have been used to cover up a burglary, and that the state investigator had ruled out electrical or weather-related causes for the fire.

“By no means are we close to any conclusion in this investigation,” the sheriff said. “But we do have a clear criminal act in this case… whereas, in the past, we haven’t always had that.”

According to the sheriff, there has been a pattern of the zoological park being targeted since 2013, when a dead chinchilla was left at the entrance at of the animal park.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com


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