A 25-year-old man who police say was caught on video strolling into a Northeast Portland pet adoption center while shirtless and fleeing after swiping a black kitten from a cage has been arrested.
Luke J. Andrade is accused of first-degree theft, second-degree burglary and has an outstanding warrant for arson in a separate case, according to Portland police.
Swan, the 3 month-old kitten Andrade is suspected of taking from Pixie Project on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, hasn’t been found. Police said they believe the suspected cat-napper sold it to another man in downtown Portland on Monday.
The brazen, after-hours theft Sunday occurred around 6:25 p.m. as the alleged bandit walked through the shelter’s unlocked front door around as a few volunteers and employees worked in other rooms in the building, said Kate Northington, who has worked at the shelter for two years.
Surveillance video shows the baseball cap and backpack-wearing man wander about the front entrance. At one point, he stops and appears to smoke from a small pipe clutched in his hand.
“At first I thought it was a walkie-talkie,” Northington told The Oregonian/OregonLive, after viewing the video. “One of our kennel techs said he was definitely smoking something.
The man arrives in front of a green animal cage behind the front counter, the video shows. Soon after, he can be seen walking off with the kitten cradled in his hands.
Swan’s cage door was unlocked, police said. Tips from the public directed officers to Overlook Park in North Portland Tuesday, where they found Andrade and arrested him.
The cat is microchipped. Investigators don’t have any other description of the alleged buyer, according to police.
Pet shelter workers have taken the abduction personally, Northington said, since they all play a role in helping care for the animals there.
“There’s a gut-wrenching fear that comes with seeing someone take one of your babies,” she said.
Portland police ask anyone with more information on where to find Swan the cat to contact The Pixie Project or Portland Police Bureau’s non-emergency line at 503-823-3333.