Victor Hugo Cuevas, 26, was out on bond for a murder charge in Fort Bend County, when neighbors spotted the big cat, Houston Police Commander Ron Borza said during a news conference Monday.
There were also reports that the suspect had monkeys, which are not illegal to have in the city, Borza said. Having a tiger, though, is illegal.
An off-duty deputy went to the house to confront the suspect, Borza said. But when Houston police arrived at the scene, Cuevas put the tiger in a white SUV and drove off.
“There was a brief pursuit, and the man got away with the tiger,” Borza said.
“The tiger portion of the investigation is continuing,” the Houston Police Department said on Twitter.
Owning a tiger in Houston is a Class C misdemeanor, Borza said. According to Texas law, Class C misdemeanors are punishable with a maximum of $500 fine.
Authorities plan to seek to revoke Cuevas’ bond for the November 2020 murder charge following this incident.
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