Tag: cat thief

Bring Your Cats Inside: Thieves Are Snatching Cats From Yards And Selling Them Online

A week after a brazen thief stole a Portland family’s cat off their front porch, a pair of cat thieves were caught on security footage snatching a cat from a residential street in the UK.

The latter is not an isolated incident. A group of amateur sleuths, comprised of people whose cats were stolen and others concerned about the spate of thefts, found several of the missing cats listed for sale on a UK pet classifieds site, Pets4Homes.co.uk.

The latest cat-napping happened in East Birmingham, where home security cameras captured footage of a man and a woman creeping along a residential street shortly before 4 am, armed with cat treats, milk and a plastic bin and quietly searching for neighborhood felines.

East Birmingham’s Charlene Jones told the UK Sun that she was woken up by her dogs, who alerted her to intruders on her property.

“I didn’t notice anything until the dogs started barking, and I looked out the window and caught them in the act,” Jones said. “It all happened around 20 to four in the morning, at this point she was just putting the cat into the bin. I opened the window and the cat escaped.”

Cat thieves
In this still from Jones’ security cameras, the cat thieves are seen with the treats, milk and plastic bin they were using to capture neighborhood kitties.

An angry Jones, whose own cat was stolen three weeks ago, confronted the thieves, who claimed they were working for a local animal welfare charity and were trapping strays.

“I went out and spoke to them and she started reeling off all these charity numbers and claiming she worked for them,” Jones said.

When Jones later reviewed the footage she recognized the cat, who belongs to a neighbor a few doors down the street.

“I feel angry,” Jones told the paper. “I have done my own research, she has been selling cats for eight months.”

Jodie Smith of Solihull, a town of about 123,000 about 18 miles from Birmingham, said her family’s cat, Arlo, was stolen in January. A friend later spotted Arlo on Pets4Homes, but the Smiths weren’t able to recover him.

“It’s awful, this is my daughter’s cat,” Smith said. “My daughter can’t go to bed with cuddles from her fur baby. She is absolutely gutted.”

Arlo the cat
Arlo was listed on Pets4Homes but the family was unable to recover him.

Pet thefts on both sides of the Atlantic have been on the rise since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. As entire countries went into lockdown, demand for companion animals skyrocketed, leaving many shelters bare and breeders sold out.

Criminals saw an opportunity and began stealing pets, mostly dogs at first, from yards, homes and kennels, prompting the owner of one lost pet site to dub 2020 “the worst year ever” for dog thefts, according to the BBC.

With exotic cat breeds commanding large amounts of money on the open market, from a few hundred dollars for breeds like Persians to $20,000 for Savannah cats, opportunistic thieves began targeting felines as well. “Moggies,” cats of indeterminate origin or no particular breed, aren’t exempt either. Some may be stolen because thieves mistake them for exotics, while other thieves apparently find it worth their time to snatch cats that can net them $100 or more on sites like Craigslist and Pets4Homes.

In the UK, cat thefts have increased threefold within the last five years, a trend accelerated by the pandemic and the resulting scarcity of cats, especially those with breed pedigree. Police rarely recover the stolen pets, and authorities say some people are targeted after sharing photos and video of their pets online.

Stealing cats is especially easy in the UK, where the majority of people allow their cats to roam free outdoors and the idea of keeping cats strictly indoors is seen as cruel or improper, even though felis catus are domesticated animals and don’t have a “natural habitat.”

In the Portland case, no one has come forward with any solid information in the theft of Kiki the cat despite two relatively clear shots of the suspect’s face and extended footage of her approaching and taking the cat from the Autar family’s front porch on Feb. 20. Like the UK catnappings, the Portland suspect seemed motivated by profit: The family said their cameras also caught the woman checking for open car doors, and the way she grabbed and held the cat — holding him at arm’s length, dangerously carrying him by the scruff of his neck — indicated she saw him as an object, not a living creature.

Karina Autar told PITB on March 1 that her family hasn’t given up hope.

“We are all just getting by, we are coping by putting in all our energy [into finding] him,” she said.

Cat thief suspect
The thief was caught snatching KiKi off his family’s front porch on Feb. 20.

In the UK, Jones is not the only person to confront the cat thieves. Amy Buckley, 29, told The Sun that the woman seen in Jones’ footage also told her she was an employee of an animal welfare organization.

“She came to mine around January, claiming she worked for the PDSA and that they’d had a report about a large number of stray cats in the area,” Buckley told the paper.

She said she was immediately suspicious because PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) is a charity run by veterinarians that provides care, not TNR or general trapping services.

PDSA confirmed the woman does not work for the organization, while local police told the paper they had taken several reports from people whose cats had been stolen and were investigating the thefts. Meanwhile, an RSPCA spokesperson urged caretakers to have their cats microchipped.

In the meantime the victims are trying their best to locate their stolen furry family members, but they’re also angry at the pain the thieves have caused families and children.

“There are other families going through the same heartbreak,” Smith said. “For a lady to have some money in her pocket, she is destroying little children.”

Help Catch This Portland Cat Thief And Get Kitty Returned To His Family

We’re putting out a call to our readers and all cat lovers to help identify a woman who brazenly snatched a family’s cat off their front porch in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday.

The woman was wearing a pink jacket with a white scarf, black jogging pants, white sneakers and green socks.

Cat thief suspect
The thief was caught snatching KiKi off his family’s front porch on Feb. 20.

Home security footage shows that at 7 a.m. on Feb. 20, the woman approached the Autar family’s home and tried to get their cat, KiKi, to approach her. KiKi wasn’t having it and turned toward the front door several times, refusing to approach the woman, but she slowly made her way onto the porch and snatched the well-loved kitty.

It’s clear from the way she holds KiKi that she’s not familiar with cats: Footage shows her holding him by the scruff of the neck, which is extremely painful for adult cats. Here’s a video of the entire sequence courtesy of Karina Autar:

And here’s a video from a second camera overlooking the driveway. The thief is clearly holding poor KiKi by the scruff with one hand as she briskly walks off:

The woman leaves in what looks like a black or dark blue Chevy suburban, quickly fleeing the neighborhood with the trunk still open. The SUV did not have a front license plate:

Earlier footage shows the same woman on a bicycle stopping in front of cars on the block and checking their doors. It appears she tossed the bike in the back of the SUV and drove off quickly, perhaps after someone spotted her.

Anyone who recognizes the woman or has information about the theft can call the Portland Police Department’s non-emergency number at 503-823-3333 or email Karina Autar directly.

Reason #31 To Keep Your Cats Indoors: Actual Cat Burglars

A Portland family is looking for help getting their cat back after a woman snatched the moggie off their porch and ran off with him.

Home security footage shows the woman approaching the Autar family’s home early in the morning on Feb. 20 and crouching down next to the porch where she beckoned the tabby, KiKi, to approach her.

Portland cat stolen
The woman grabs KiKi off the porch of his family’s home in Portland. The family hopes someone recognizes the suspect so they can recover KiKi.

When that didn’t work, the woman walked right up to KiKi and scooped him up.

Karina Autar and her brother, Akash, are students at the University of Oregon and described their parents as “empty-nesters” who dote on KiKi like a child.

“When my dad takes a nap, when my dad goes to sleep, he has to get KiKi on the bed with him,” Karina told KPTV, a Fox affiliate in Portland.

Karina, who adopted KiKi when she was in middle school, said it feels “like a family member is gone.”

With Karina and Akash living on campus 110 miles away in Eugene, Oregon, their parents have turned to neighbors and friends for help. The suspect was wearing a long sleeve pink jacket with a white scarf around her neck, along with black jogging pants and white running shoes. She’s got dark hair highlighted with blonde and while it’s difficult to estimate her age based on the pixelated footage, she may be in her 20s.

Akash Autar spoke directly to the woman in the KTPV segment.

“What you did was really wrong,” he said. “You took someone’s family member. You took someone’s love and joy. I just hope you haven’t done anything mean or bad or harmed him in any way.”

Oregon Cat Is An Accomplished Kleptomaniac

Esme the cat loves bringing gifts back to her human, so when she started bringing home inanimate objects instead of prey, owner Kate Felmet lavished her with praise.

“When she brings them, she comes to the back door and yowls, like ‘Wooooar!’ until I come and tell her she’s done a good job,” Felmet explained.

While Felmet’s glad her three-year-old kitty had stopped going after living creatures, the sheer volume of stuff Esme’s brought back — and her singleminded devotion to collecting it — prompted the Oregon woman to find a way to return the items to people in her neighborhood.

Felmet found a solution when she constructed a cat-shaming lost and found in her front yard, marked with a sign that reads: “MY CAT IS A THIEF” with the stolen items hanging from an attached clothesline.

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Esme the cat.

The sign has a well-drawn likeness of Esme with a glove in her mouth, and a smaller line of text that reads: “Please take these items if they are yours.”

So what does Esme steal? A little bit if everything, apparently.

The most popular objects of her pilfering exploits are gloves and masks, but the little cat burglar has gotten her paws on “several bathing suits, knee pads, rolls of tapes, packages of paint rollers and lengths of fabric.”

“Esme’s thievery began last spring – she brought home 11 masks in one day,” Felmet said. “I was so delighted that she wasn’t bringing me birds and she got a lot of praise – and maybe a few treats for the gifts that weren’t recently alive.”

Esme’s a completist: If she steals one glove, she must have the other.

“She brings them separately but almost always goes back to get the second glove,” said Felmet, who is a medical doctor.

“As soon as I put the sign up, she went for a week of not bringing me anything,” Felmet told WKRG, the local CBS affiliate station. “I had the impression she was a little mad about it.” 

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Esme’s haul from a recent pilfering expedition.

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