This is the most outrageous example of what I’ll term ‘cat extortion’ that I have encountered. We know criminals steal cats and extort money for their return but in this instance an acquaintance allegedly demanded $10,000 for the return of a cat belonging to a 70-year-old Floridian.
The victim was staying at a motel with two friends in Immokalee, an hour’s drive from Fort Worth, when approached by an acquaintance who demanded the money.
The man was forced to pay because his acquaintance said he’d kill his cat unless he coughed up. This guy has a criminal history apparently so his threat was believable. The extortionist, the cat owner and one of the victim’s friends drove to a bank in Lehigh Acres where $13,000 was withdrawn, $10k of which was given to the alleged criminal.
They then went to a phone store and bought cell phones. We don’t know why. The victim has reported it to the police who are investigating and the cat was unharmed.
There may be a backstory here because a protection order is supposed to be in place against the extortionist. I presume this means a court order to protect the victim from the alleged criminal who has a long history of ‘strong-armed robbery’ according to the cat owner.
There you have it: gross and extravagant extortion from someone well-known to the cat owner. Would you pay $10,000 to save your cat under these circumstances? You probably would if you had the money.
Would you call the police first and wait and see if they could catch the man? That would be the preferred action of some cat owners, I’d have thought.
There must be an element of madness in this because the extortionist is known. He’s bound to be picked up and interviewed by the police. It’ll be a question of evidence as to whether he’s charged. Perhaps the friend can provide crucial third party evidence.
The underlying moral to the story is to build a cat confinement fence around your backyard for the enjoyment of your cat. There is usually a lot of space in America for backyards, enough space for a domestic cat to enjoy a stimulating and safe life.
Source: various and primarily New York Post.
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