Cat burglars are so yesterday, now with a cat smuggler prowling around. Particularly since the smuggler under suspicion is literally a feline. A cat has been caught trying to break into a Russian prison camp with cellphones and chargers taped to its body, reported The Moscow Times on June 3.
The incident reads like a bizarre mash-up of a prison-break film and a children’s movie and falls clearly into the “strange but true” news category.
The contraband-carrying cat was discovered climbing the fence of the Penal Colony No. 1, located near the Republic of Komi’s capital Syktyvka, on Friday night. Because the cat was wearing a suspicious-looking package, prison guards apprehended it and discovered the phones and chargers.
“Two packages were taped to the animal’s back. When the packages were unwrapped, guards found objects prohibited in the penitentiary facility — two cell phones with batteries and chargers,” the Republic’s penitentiary service department said in a statement posted on its website, reports The Moscow Times.
Russian media is referring to the black-and-white cat as a “kot kontrabandist.” Images of the unfortunate feline being held up by the scruff of its neck, packages still attached to its body, were released by the state prison service.
The fate of the cat is unknown, the Times also reports.
The communication devices, obviously meant for inmates, were confiscated upon the cat’s capture. Phones and chargers are among the objects forbidden to inmates.
The Moscow Times reports that although this is the first time the Komi prison has had to deal such shenanigans, Russian inmates have sometimes employed cats to deliver drugs to them.
The “Contraband Cat” is not the first feline to be fingered as the four-legged creature on an inside job. RIA Novosti notes that police in South Russia’s Rostov Region discovered a drug-smuggling scheme last August in which inmates attempted to smuggle heroin into a prison by stuffing a cat’s collar with the drug. That plan was similar to a 2010 incident in Russia’s Volga Republic of Tatarstan.
And the practice isn’t unique to Russian prison camps. The Huffington Post UK reported in January that a cat was caught trying slip through the gates of a prison in Arapiraca, Brazil. A cellphone, several drill bits and a small saw were strapped to its body.
For your daily shot of news & views about pop culture screens & scenes, events & must-haves, subscribe to this page, follow PopCultCaffeine on Twitter or join Pop Culture Caffeine on Facebook.