Man Who Claimed to Be ‘Tarzan’ at Santa Ana Zoo Arrested in Burglary Case: Police

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A man who was taken into custody earlier this week after allegedly claiming he was “Tarzan” and trying to swing into an exhibit at the Santa Ana Zoo was arrested the following day on a burglary charge in Costa Mesa, police said Friday.

John Rodenborn is seen in a booking photo released by the Costa Mesa Police Department on Aug. 7, 2015.

John Rodenborn is seen in a booking photo released by the Costa Mesa Police Department on Aug. 7, 2015.

The latest incident began around 10:45 a.m. Thursday when the female victim unlocked the door of an art gallery in the 2900 block of Randolph Avenue, went to the back room and set her possessions — including an iPhone — down, according to Lt. Victor Bakkila of the Costa Mesa Police Department.

She then observed a man trying to open the front door of the gallery, which was closed at the time and set to open at 11 a.m.

Initially, the victim thought nothing of the man, but when she returned to the room where she had put down her possessions, the woman discovered her cellphone was missing, Bakkila said

She reviewed the gallery’s surveillance video, which apparently showed the man breaking in through the side door and taking the phone, according to Bakkila.

Then, around 5 p.m. — hours after reporting the cellphone stolen — the woman tracked the iPhone’s location to Bristol Street in Santa Ana. She alerted police and gave them a description of the man seen on the surveillance video.

Officers checked a flood control channel in the area where the cellphone was tracked and saw him on the far side, the police lieutenant said. They made eye contact and the suspect — identified as John Rodenborn — jumped a fence into the Newport neighborhood.

He made his way into the garage of a residence, where a woman flagged down pursuing officers and alerted them to his location, according to Bakkila.

The Santa Ana Police Department released this booking photo of John Rodenborn on Aug. 5, 2015, the same day he was arrested in an alleged drug-fueled incident at the city's zoo.

The Santa Ana Police Department released this booking photo of John Rodenborn on Aug. 5, 2015, the same day he was arrested in an alleged drug-fueled incident at the city’s zoo.

Rodenborn fled again to the carport of a nearby apartment building. He jumped from a garage into a dumpster area, where he was cornered by officers.

The suspect was taken into custody without incident. He had apparently dipped his hair in blue paint while in the woman’s garage in an attempt to disguise himself, Bakkila said.

Rodenborn faced charges of possession of stolen property, burglary and evasion, the police official added.

The incident marked the second arrest this week for Rodenborn.

Police announced Wednesday that he had been arrested at the Santa Ana Zoo after allegedly claiming he was Tarzan and trying to swing into the monkey exhibit. Rodenborn was shirtless and covered in mud at the time he was taken into custody.

Police had found him in possession of methamphetamine, and he was likely under the influence of the drug, Cpl. Anthony Bertagna of the Santa Ana Police Department said at the time.

Bakkila indicated that authorities did not believe he was under the influence of any substance during Thursday’s incident.

Rodenborn was being held on $220,000 bail, according to Orange County inmate records. He was scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

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