Tauranga cat burglar’s life of petty crime
A moggie with a penchant for shoes and socks has more misdemeanours on his record than a lot of human criminals.
Most nights, Gary sneaks around his Bellevue neighbourhood in search of clothes and footwear to bring home as a prize for his family.
Some of his latest thefts include a pair of children's batman slippers, lots of black socks, a hat and a child's singlet.
When he brought home a child’s Nike trainer, it was the last straw for his owner Marcia Martin.
She says the child who is missing their shoe probably got in trouble for losing it, but Gary’s the culprit.
Having recently moved to Ngatai Road, Marcia took to Facebook to try and reunite people with their belongings.
Her post got a lot of attention and laughs but failed to return items to where they came from, so she reached out to SunLive.
They moved from Vale Street in Otumoetai about three months ago and in the past month, the ginger tom has started up his thieving ways again.
“He's definitely got more productive with his stuff. It used to be just socks, but it’s shoes now and slippers.”
Most of the footwear is children’s because they’re lighter to carry but there have been adult shoes in the past, says Marcia.
The 13-year-old cat has been dabbling in theft for most of his life but will go through phases and have bursts of activity.
He took 19 black socks in the space of two weeks back at their old home, says Marcia’s husband Larry.
Marcia thinks the clothes and socks come from A-frame washing lines and the rest are items people leave outside.
“He had a fetish on toys, but we knew where they came from in our last place, so we just used to take them back.
“But we’ve had towels, we’ve had reading glasses, a wallet – it had nothing in it thank God – but he must be an opportunist at night and just [take] whatever’s lying around.”
Gary never brings home dead animals just people’s possessions and he proclaims loudly when he drags something through the cat door, says Marcia. He also takes a break when it’s raining.
The feline’s antics will soon be immortalised in print. Marcia and two of her colleagues at Tauranga Special School plan to write a children’s book during the Christmas holidays.
Marcia and Larry would hate to see anyone hurt Gary if they caught him in the act and their main concern is giving the items back.
If people from Ngatai Road are missing items they can email Marcia on: firstname.lastname@example.org