OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Overland Park police are asking for the public's help tracking down an alleged 'Catnapper.'
Overland Park police posted a photo of the alleged thief and the kitten, Buddy, on its Facebook page. Officials said the man in the picture went to the Purrfect Pet Rescue on the 11400 block of W. 95th St. on February 17, wanting to adopt a cat for a friend.
A volunteer escorted him to the enclosure where the kittens were kept and left to take care of another customer.
The man then allegedly left the store with the kitten. Officials believe he hid the cat by stuffing it in the pocket of his sweatshirt.
John Lacy with the Overland Park Police Department described the incident as a misdemeanor theft.
Oak Park Mall sent 41 Action News the following statement regarding the incident:
“When Oak Park learned the theft had occurred, we immediately delivered security footage and photos to the Overland Park Police Department. We are dedicated to working closely with OPPD in order to identify the suspect and ask anyone who may have information regarding this incident to please contact authorities.
A worker at Purrfect Pet Rescue said they are hoping the photos will help to get the kitten, "Buddy", returned safely.”
Staff said they believe the man in the photo had the intention of stealing the kitten; he filled out his application with fake information.
Employees said the biggest worry is the kitten could be used for baiting in dog fights, fed to a snake, or abused.
The rescue director said they would not press charges.
"If we could get them back, we would not press any charges against this man. We just want the kitten back and to know he's safe," said Elaine Doran, Purrfect Pet Rescue director.
Doran said a Siamese cat was stolen about four years ago at a different location. These days they have two locks on their cages.
Doran also said from now on people have to be with a volunteer while seeing a cat.
Since posting the photos, police said they have received several tips on who the man may be; a detective has a person of interest.
Overland Park police are asking anyone who knows the suspect to call police at 913-344-8729.