An ex-soldier has pleaded guilty to storming an animal shelter in a full SWAT suit – including a fake gun – in search of his lost cat.
In January, Tony Wittman, 45, called the Lost Dog’s Home in Melbourne, Australia, looking for his cat.
A member of staff told him that they had found his pet, but that he would have to make an appointment to collect the cat the following morning as they were about to close, ABC reports.
The father-of-three was impatient however and took matters into his own hands later that night, when he forced his way into the shelter, while dressed in full military-style SWAT clothing and carrying an imitation firearm.
He then confronted a female employee and threatened her: “If you do as I say and listen to me, I won’t shoot you.”
The woman pleaded with Wittman not to harm her, telling him she was the mother of a young child, to which he replied: “Don’t try anything or I’ll shoot you.
The ex-soldier then proceeded to interrogate the staff member about where the cats were, before tying her hands behind her back and telling her: “I’m going to close this door, if I see you, I’ll shoot you.”
The 45-year-old then fled the scene before the woman called her boss who proceeded to alert the authorities, with the whole incident captured on the shelter’s security cameras.
In a bizarre twist, Wittman then returned to the shelter the next morning as per his appointment, to collect his cat.
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He confessed to the police during an interview later that same day, telling them that he had PTSD from his military service and that he “loves his cat and relies on his cat for support”.
The court heard that Wittman “felt like he needed to get the cat back and acted without thinking about the consequences.”
His lawyers managed to strike a deal with prosecutors to withdraw 16 charges and he will only face eight, including false imprisonment, aggravated burglary, criminal damage, perjury and carrying an imitation firearm.
He is due to return to court in February.
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