Mesa police have arrested a suspect in the cat mutilation case who admitted taking up to 40 cats, but denied harming them.
Scott Andrew Graham, 39, who is allergic to cats, was arrested about 10 p.m. Monday on suspicion of animal cruelty. Police said the inside and trunk of Graham’s car smelled like animal carcasses.
Video surveillance on Aug. 8 caught Graham removing a cat from the top of a victim’s vehicle in the 900 block of West Natal, according to police. Graham put the cat in his vehicle and drove away and several days later the cat was found dead and mutilated behind a strip mall, police said. Another mutilated cat was also found there.
Friends and neighbors in the victim’s neighborhood were shown the video. Then at 1 a.m. Aug. 23, one of the neighbors saw Graham’s vehicle in the area again and pursued him on his bicycle. Police said Graham threw a cat out the window and fled.
Monday evening, the same neighbor saw Graham’s vehicle in the neighborhood again, got his license plate number and gave that to patrol officers, according to police.
Once police tracked down Graham, they discovered cat hair in his car. He admitted that he had taken up to 30 or 40 cats from the area. He told police he played with the cats but did not harm them.
But police said there was evidence at Graham’s residence and in his vehicle that, combined with his “strange story” and video surveillance, led to his arrest for animal cruelty.
Graham offered no explanation for his odd behavior with cats, but did tell police that he needed to stop searching for and taking possession of cats.
Graham had no prior arrest record, according to a Mesa police report.