– The Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – In the hours after a monkey on the lam fell into a woman’s pool and then swiped some fruit from her backyard tree, fans of the wily primate cheered it for avoiding capture.

“It’s something that you can kind of cheer for,” said Amy Ellis, a Pasco County employee who has become a fan of the monkey on Facebook. “Every day there’s so much bad news. He’s kind of like a little hero.”

The rhesus macaque monkey has avoided capture for nearly a year. Authorities don’t know where the animal came from.

The creature has captivated people in Tampa Bay and beyond – possibly because of his ability to outwit the humans trying to catch him.

The monkey was even featured two weeks ago on “The Colbert Report” with host Stephen Colbert poking fun at the creature, who has been shot numerous times with tranquilizers, apparently unfazed. One trapper claimed the monkey was becoming a “drug addict” because of all the shots. “You took a monkey on the lam and put a monkey on his back,” Colbert wisecracked.

A spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, warned would-be rescuers, “that monkey would absolutely tear an adult male up.”