The Hush Post: In a weird case, an octogenarian woman was arrested in Columbus, Ohio last week on the charges of thefts at more than 5,000 houses by her trained pet cats.
The 83-year old woman, Ruth Gregson, is accused of training her cats to steal jewellery and other valuables from her neighbours’ houses, a report said.
The Columbus Police Department started investigating against Ruth Gregson and her 65 pet cats in October last year after a number of people living in the neighbourhood complained about the thefts of small objects from their houses, the report said.
Many people reported being visited by Ruth Gregson’s pet cats before noticing several shiny objects, like valuable cutlery and pieces of jewellery going missing. Initially being sceptical, the police started a surveillance operation and were amazed by what they found, it was reported.
Kim Jacobs, Columbus Police Chief said that dozens of cats were constantly coming and going, bringing home “anything that shined,” the report said.
“She was like Fagin in Oliver Twist, but she was using cats as thieves instead of children. In less than three hours of surveillance, the detectives saw the cats bring home more than a hundred objects,” Kim Jacobs was quoted as saying in the report.
On searching Ruth Gregson’s house, the cops found jewellery worth $650,000 and costly metal among piles of worthless shiny baubles. As many as 65 adult cats and 17 kittens were found from Gregson’s house and given to the Columbus Humane Society, the report said.
Chief Kim Jacobs reportedly said that Ruth Gregson has confessed to training her cats to steal, saying the felines had to “earn their meals”.
“She would only feed the animals if they brought home valuables, so the animals had to steal every day in order to survive. Most were voluntarily malnourished so they would easily gain the neighbors’ pity and be allowed inside their houses,” Kim Jacobs was quoted as saying.
As per the Columbus Police, Ruth Gregson’s animals could have stolen from more than 5,000 houses and apartment in the area, and investigators invite possible victims to contact them.
While Ruth Gregson is the first person in the history of the United States (US) to be accused of training cats to steal, this isn’t the first time that animals are trained to commit crimes.
A surveillance in 2009 found a monkey stealing plants worth hundreds of dollars from a Texas nursery. That time, the cops and store owners had hypothesized that the monkey had been trained to take the plants and hand them over a fence to a waiting human accomplice.
Similarly, in 2013, a court in Chicago sentenced a man to five years in prison for training ferrets to steal cell phones from people on the street and on public buses, the report said.