HATTIESBURG, Miss. – At least nine other University of Southern Mississippi students are being investigated for taking a flamingo from the Hattiesburg Zoo.
The students’ names were not released. Hattiesburg police said once the investigation is completed, the case will be turned over to a grand jury. If convicted, the students could be charged with conspiracy.
Devin Nottis, a 19-year-old freshman at the school, has already been arrested and charged Wednesday with grand larceny, two counts of animal cruelty and trespassing. His bond ,was set Friday at $17,300. Investigators said Nottis, and the others who were trying to become new members of Pi Kappa Alpha Delta Mu chapter, were sent on a scavenger hunt and told to snap pictures of the flamingos. Nottis apparently decided to take one away from the zoo. At that point, workers believe the flamingo tried to fight back and was injured so badly during the struggle that it had to be euthanized. A second flamingo, said to be the mate of the stolen one, was also hurt, possibly while trying to protect its’ companion. It was found dead Wednesday.
USM has indefinitely suspended the fraternity and placed Nottis on interim suspension.