Friday 11 June 2021

Homeless man burgled a couple's apartment, slept there and stole their cats

PORTAGE, PENNSYLVANIA-NEWS AND COMMENT: Austin Shaffer is accused of breaking into an apartment, sleeping there, trashing it and taking the owner's two cats, while they were away on holiday. The story immediately got me thinking because how is a homeless man going to cope with caring for a couple of cats? What is he going to do with them? How did he carry them? It is all so implausible and impossible. 

I suppose he thought that he could sell them cheaply and make a few bucks but just looking after them before he sells them would be highly problematic for this man who seems to be in a state of minor chaos.

Austin Shaffer
Austin Shaffer. Photo: Police mugshot.

Perhaps he's not homeless as he states. He justified his illegal entry into this couple's property by saying that he was homeless and he needed to get out of the weather. He slept in their bed and as mentioned stole their cats. He's been charged with two felony counts of burglary and criminal trespass. His criminality was discovered when the couple returned home on May 26 when it was quite clear that there had been a burglary because the front door had been tampered with and there were bedroom blankets on the floor and their two cats were missing. In addition, more than one witness told the police that they had heard and seen Schaffer breaking into the apartment.

His justification for stealing the cats was that he thought they were abandoned! He said that he was doing a good deed by taking them. It is reported that he bragged about breaking into the apartment and trashing it as an act of revenge.

It is highly unusual for a burglar to steal cats. Certainly, in the UK it would never happen unless they had information about one or two expensive purebred cats living in a home and they had the idea that they could breed from them. It's all a bit fanciful. Nowadays burglary is not that profitable compared to cybercrime. It's small change and most burglars, in my opinion, are opportunistic rather than organised criminal groups who wouldn't be interested in stealing cats. The man in question in the story is the kind of person who commits burglary but steals money and stuff which is easily converted to cash. Cats aren't.


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