Student in custody after flamingo theft

Flamingos in their exhibit at the Hattiesburg Zoo on Sunday afternoon. -Kara Davidson
Flamingos in their exhibit at the Hattiesburg Zoo on Sunday afternoon. -Kara Davidson

Devin Nottis, 19, of Pascagoula, was arrested Oct. 8 on charges of grand larceny in connection with the Oct. 7 break-in at the Hattiesburg Zoo, said Hattiesburg police spokesman Lt. Jon Traxler.

The break-in led to the death of two flamingos at the facility. The student has also been placed on suspension by the university, according to Southern Miss Now.  

Members of the Delta Mu Chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity (PIKE) are also under investigation following the events at the Hattiesburg Zoo.

Nottis is currently prohibited from stepping foot on campus for any reason other than judicial proceedings with the Dean of Students Office and is subject to arrest if found in violation of this order. He is being held on a $17,300 bond and has a hearing Oct. 17.

Hattiesburg Convention Commission executive director Rick Taylor said a female bird was taken at 1:08 a.m. Tuesday and found later that morning abandoned on the Longleaf Trace. Taylor said it was returned to the zoo by animal control and had to be euthanized because of its injuries, according to Associated Press.

Taylor said a second flamingo was injured in the incident and died Wednesday. He said zoo officials believe the male flamingo died from injuries sustained while defending his mate during the attack, according to AP.

Devin Nottis - Courtesy Photo
Devin Nottis – Courtesy Photo

In a security video found at the Hattiesburg Zoo, at least four people were found wandering the premises after hours. Eyewitnesses reported seeing young men climbing a fence out of the zoo with what appeared to be a large bird in hand. Nottis allegedly brought the bird back to the Pike house and abandoned it in another area of Hattiesburg.

The chapter is indefinitely suspended at this point. Members have been ordered to cease and desist all activities until further notice by the university.

The national office of the fraternity has placed the chapter on administrative suspension, requiring it cease operations for 30 days while executive officers determine its future, according to Southern Miss Now.

“The university is taking swift and appropriate action in response to this incident,” said Joe Paul, Southern Miss vice president for student affairs. “This is a terrible and heinous act that has occurred, and inconsistent with the values of our institution.”

A Snap Chat video of Nottis has surfaced where he was talking about his events in the form of a rap song. Nottis said he took the flamingo and brought it back to the house.

Members of the Delta Mu chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha are not permitted to give any statements until the investigation has concluded.

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