Cops: Would-Be “Tarzan,” High on Meth, Climbs Trees at Zoo

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man who claimed to be Tarzan has been arrested after he allegedly climbed a tree and tried to get into the monkey exhibit at a Southern California zoo.

A zookeeper called 911 Tuesday morning to report that a shirtless man plastered in mud had climbed about 20 feet into a tree at the bird exhibit at the Santa Ana Zoo.

Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna tells City News Service that the man, who apparently was high on methamphetamine, claimed he was Tarzan and tried to crawl into a monkey exhibit.

He had left by the time police arrived, but he was taken into custody a short time later.

CBS LA identified the suspect as 37-year-old John Rodenborn, who is described as a local transient.

According to a 911 call made by zoo employee Kent Yamaguchi, Rodenborn was allegedly “shouting at people that he’s Tarzan” as he made his way through the zoo, but wasn’t acting “terribly aggressive,” reports the station.

“We have a gentleman who appears to be under the influence of something and is climbing in our trees and jumping into animal exhibits,” Yamaguchi said in the call, before apparently speaking directly to Rodenborn and saying, “You’re not allowed to climb trees in the zoo here.”

Rodenborn had reportedly climbed up a tree and was on top of a 20-foot-high retaining wall looking into the monkey area, but eventually climbed back down.

The incident did not disturb the monkeys, zoo staff said.

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