A transient accused earlier this week of claiming he was Tarzan while swinging from trees at the Santa Ana Zoo found himself back behind bars Friday, this time on suspicion of stealing a cell phone, Costa Mesa police said.

John William Rodenborn. Photo via Santa Ana Police Department
John William Rodenborn. Photo via Santa Ana Police Department
John William Rodenborn, 37, was arrested Thursday evening, hours after he allegedly swiped an iPhone from a business in the 2900 block of Randolph Avenue, according to Costa Mesa police Lt. Victor Bakkila.

Rodenborn was tracked down to Bristol Street and Santa Ana Avenue with an application that helps iPhone owners locate their device, Bakkila said.

The victim called police about 5:20 p.m. to tell investigators where the phone was and when officers got to the location they saw Rodenborn in a flood-control channel, Bakkila said.

Rodenborn hopped a fence into a Newport Beach neighborhood to evade his pursuers, and then later hid in a garage, Bakkila alleged.

The homeowner there called police, and when officers arrived Rosenborn allegedly climbed into a nearby apartment complex’s garages, where he was cornered by trash bins, Bakkila said.

Santa Ana police were called at 10:37 a.m. Tuesday about a shirtless man plastered in mud “climbing into trees and attempting to get into the exhibits,” according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

A zookeeper called 911 when he saw the man had climbed up about 20 feet in a tree at the bird exhibit, Bertagna said.

The suspect, proclaiming he was Tarzan, then tried to crawl into a monkey exhibit, Bertagna said.

By the time police arrived the man had fled, but he was taken into custody a short time later.

Rodenborn was arrested July 26 on suspicion of being under the influence of narcotics but was released from jail the next day, according to Orange County jail records.

Friday he was being held in lieu of $220,000 bail and was scheduled to appear Monday in Santa Ana’s Central Jail Court.

— City News Service

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