Categories: crime

The crime of extortion and wandering cats

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.

Photo in public domain

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 The extortionist, the cat owner and one of the victim’s friends drove to a bank in Lehigh Acres where $13,000 was withdrawn, $10k of which was given to the alleged criminal.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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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • Pet extortions most common form is to get information from the flyer most of us would put up if we lost them. Scammers use that information to give many pet owners false hope. Actually kidnapping a pet seems to be much more rare and is more common in domestic disputes over who has a right to maintain custody of the family pet.
    This case sounds like the acquaintance knew the numbers in a bank account. The amount makes it a felony. Many states also have laws that specifically protect seniors.

    • Hmmm...as a retiree, and Social Security not to kick in for another year or two (if ever), I don't have that much in the bank. If I still had a cat, and someone demanded that much for its return, I'm afraid kitty would be out of luck.

      And, unless such stories be accepted as "typical", the majority of Americans subsist on no more than I do, working or not. I don't see cat ransoming as a growth industry in these hard times. Hunting them for bounties perhaps might be more likely.

      Nice to meet you, Mind Control.

      This is me:

      • Your comment just complies with comment rules the fact that you like to kill cats. I'll let it go in the interests of free speech but photos should be uploaded to the comment not linked.

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