Writing about this news raised a few questions in my mind as well. First, it reminded me of Fagin from Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist, the only difference being unlike Fagin this grandma was using cats to steal stuff from her neighbors.
Secondly, 65 cats? That is an insane number of cats, isn’t it? The 83-year-old woman living in Columbus Ohio was accused of providing training to 65 moggies to embezzle jewels and other valuables from her neighbors.
The Columbus Police Department initiated a reconnaissance against Ruth Gregson and her precious 65 cats in October as several neighbors testified about small objects being robbed from their homes.
The victims also reported that before noticing the disappearance of several shiny objects like pieces of jewelry and valuable cutlery, it was only Ms. Gregson’s cats that visited.
Keeping their skepticism aside, investigators launched a surveillance operation and were shook by what they found.
As per the statement of Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs, oodles of cats were coming and going bringing home “anything that shined” on a constant note.
“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.” (See! I told you.)
Upon probing Ms. Gregson’s house, the officers found $650,000 worth of jewelry and valuable metal among heaps of insignificant shiny knick-knacks.
A total of 17 kittens and 65 adult cats were found on the site which was later handed over to the Columbus Humane Society.
Chief Jacobs also stated that the senior lady admitted that she trained her cats to steal, saying the cats 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.”
The Columbus Police further revealed that Ms. Gregson’s pets could have possibly stolen from over 5,000 apartments and houses in the area, and detectives will invite the possible victims to contact them (investigators).
Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs informed the journalists that the number of charges filed against Ms. Gregson could possibly reach over five thousand.
No doubt Ms. Gregson is the first American in the history of America to be reproached for training felines to steal, however, this isn’t the first time that animals are taught to commit crimes.
A surveillance camera caught a monkey stealing plants worth hundreds of dollars form a Texas nursery in 2009.
Analyzing the given situation, the store owners and the police had assumed that the monkey had been taught to steal the plants and hand them over the fence to a waiting human abettor.
A Chicago court sentenced a man to five years in prison for training ferrets to lift cell phones from people on the public buses and on the streets.