Man arrested after breaking into Franklin Park Zoo, attempting to gain access to tiger enclosure

When questioned by police, the man responded ‘that he was very interested in tigers’

BOSTON — A man was arrested Monday morning after breaking into the Franklin Park Zoo and attempting to enter the zoo’s tiger enclosure, according to police.

The Massachusetts State Police told Boston 25 News that at approximately 9 a.m. troopers were notified that security staff detained a man who broke into the zoo by climbing over the gate before attempting to enter the tiger enclosure.

Authorities confirmed the man, Matthew Abraham, 24, of Worcester, did not make it into the enclosure and was not harmed.

Shortly after Abraham was detained, Boston EMS arrived at the zoo to evaluate the man and determine if he was mentally competent, but Abraham refused medical care. Troopers proceeded to arrest Abraham before and took him to the State Police-South Boston Barracks, where he was booked on charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct.

State Police say its investigation “determined that Abraham scaled multiple fences in his attempt to get to the tigers, ignoring multiple posted signs advising the public to stay out that area. When questioned by a Trooper as to his motive, Abraham responded only that he was very interested in tigers.”

“A bail clerk was contacted and released Abraham on only the standard $40 clerk’s fee. He was ordered to appear in Dorchester District Court for arraignment, most likely (Tuesday),” according to police.

Zoo New England commented on the latest incident and how events unfolded after Abraham broke into the zoo.

“At about 8:45 a.m. at Franklin Park Zoo, an unknown male was seen in an outdoor non-public area behind the tiger exhibit. When first seen by staff and approached, he climbed over a gate and quickly exited the area. Zoo Security was called and they, along with additional staff, immediately began a search for the trespasser, who was quickly located. State Police responded and removed him from the property. No animals, nor people, were injured.”

—  Zoo New England

The “Tiger Tales” exhibit at the Franklin Park Zoo opened in 2006. The zoo says the tiger, Anala, came to the zoo after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rescued her from owners who were keeping her illegally in neglectful conditions.

“She now enjoys more comfortable, natural conditions, in a woodsy habitat with a stream and plenty of sun and shade,” according to the Franklin Park Zoo website.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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