A South African mugger was mauled to death by tigers after he fled the scene of his crime and took refuge in what turned out to be a tiger enclosure at a nearby zoo, police said on Tuesday.
The incident took place on Sunday in Bloemfontein, about 250 miles southwest of Johannesburg.
“The guy who was found in the tiger enclosure had been trying to escape after he had robbed a couple with a knife early on Sunday morning,” said police spokesman Sam Makhele.
“There were security guards nearby and they gave chase to this man and he jumped the fence into the zoo and he ended up in the tiger enclosure,” he said.
He said the man had been mauled to death and had bite marks on his neck. There were two tigers in the enclosure.
The mugger was not the first South African criminal to make the mistake of hiding among zoo animals.
Max, a 440 pound gorilla, won fame in 1997 after being wounded by a terrified gunman who jumped a moat into his space in Johannesburg’s zoo while fleeing police.
Max pinned the fugitive against the wall of his enclosure and guarded him even after being shot until police arrived, making him an instant folk hero in crime-ridden South Africa.