I have looked for a cite for this, because no one believes my story. Best I have is an old newspaper clipping from Washington Post 1989 detailing the story. I will tell it anyway.
I went to high school in Falls Church, VA. In the grade above me were two likable losers, Barney and Joey (real first names). Both were the type of kids who filled their days with shop classes and surreptitious joints between print shop and wood shop. I knew them fairly well because Joey had always had a crush on my younger sister and hung around our house as often as possible.
Barney and Joey were neighbors and from somewhat troubled families. Joey lived with his father who was an alcoholic. Joey was kicked out of his house for his enjoyment of pot. He set up shop in an abandoned school. The school was formerly the Whittier School and had been closed down and was to be demolished.
A few select kids knew how to get in through a broken window and then you could open a back door that could only open from the inside. Barney and Joey took up residence there. They brought furniture into the locker room and used the toilets and showers as they saw fit. This was at the very end of their senior year and they were both 18.
Somehow (exactly where they picked up the piece of information to follow is in some dispute) they heard of the addition of a baby Bengal tiger to the Reston Petting Zoo. The tiger was not for general petting. After much drinking and pot smoking they hatched a plan. They wanted a pet and the tiger would do.
They dressed in all black and drove to the zoo. The climed the outer fence and cut into the outdoor part of the tiger enclosure. They absconded with the tiger in Barney’s pickup truck. Brought the tiger back to the locker room and made a run to the supermarket to stock up on meat.
Of course this quickly became a problem. The animal was always hungry and sobriety led them to recognize the error of their ways. It is more difficult to return a tiger than steal one. Especially when the story is still fresh on the news. Not being terribly bright MANY people were soon regaled with news of their ninja ways and invited to see the tiger.
It took two days for the information to filter to the police and they were arrested and the tiger was returned. This story, understandably, has become legend around my small high school. I was not quite old enough or popular enough to see the tiger before the arrest, but the events related above are accurate except for minor details.