Pet Capuchin Monkey Coco Chanel Stolen from Minnesota Car Parked at Store

A pet capuchin monkey has been stolen from a car parked at a store in Maplewood, Minnesota.

The monkey, named Coco Chanel, was taken while a family member of her owner, Zaurice Steward, was shopping at Cub Foods on Tuesday evening. The family member had left Coco in the vehicle and when they returned, the monkey and her pink carrier had gone.

Maplewood police have launched an investigation into the theft of the monkey. "Investigators are canvasing the area for witnesses and surveillance footage," a statement from Maplewood Public Safety said. It said the female monkey went missing at around 8.30 p.m. local time and it is appealing for anyone in the area at that time to get in touch.

Log into Facebook to start sharing and connecting with your friends, family, and people you know.

Capuchin monkeys are legal to own as pets in many states, including Wisconsin, where Steward lives. It is illegal to own a monkey in Minnesota, where the alleged theft took place.

Steward told Fox9 she is worried for the safety of her two-year-old pet as Coco is on a special diet. The person or people who took the monkey may not know how to care for her properly, she said.

"I kind of felt like I failed as a parent, even though this didn't happen under my care," she said. "I know she's terrified. I'm worried for her safety."

Capuchin monkeys are a small breed of New World monkey found in Central and South America. The species has featured prominently in popular culture as they are clever and easy to train. At Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers in Boston, Massachusetts, capuchins are trained to help people with disabilities.

It is unclear how many capuchin monkeys are owned as pets in the U.S. nowadays. In 2013, National Geographic said there were around 15,000 owned as pets.

Although prices vary greatly, baby capuchin monkeys sold as pets in the U.S. can fetch over $12,000.

On her Facebook page, Steward regularly posts photos of Coco. On October 31, she dressed the monkey up as an astronaut. "Happy Halloween from my baby," she wrote.

Steward said she thinks the people who took Coco did so for financial reward. She said she would pay for Coco's safe return. "Just contact me," she told Fox9. "I'm willing to pay for my baby. I just want her back home."

She told CBS Minnesota she would pay up to $3,000 to have Coco returned safely.

Joe Steiner, of the Maplewood Police Department, told CBS Minnesota the case was highly unusual: "Theft from auto isn't strange, but theft of a capuchin monkey from a motor vehicle is strange," he said.

Newsweek has contacted the Maplewood Police Department and Zaurice Steward for comment.

capuchin monkey
Stock photo of a capuchin monkey. A monkey was allegedly stolen from a car parked at a store in Maplewood, Minnesota. Getty Images