I am lucky — my almost-nine-year-old still loves for me to curl-up with her at bedtime and read out loud. Last night we started a funny book called Bad Pets: True Tales of Misbehaving Animals. The chapters are broken down into: Crazy and Wild, Thieves, Intruders, Rascals, Vandals, Hijackers, Thugs and Chowhounds. Two of the thievery stories were quite entertaining, so I wanted to share them with Care2 readers: a wild fox that sneaks into town and steals shoes and a Idaho cat burglar named Jack.
In the German town of Fohren, people’s shoes started missing. First a hiking boot, then house slippers, then flip-flops, then workman’s boots. People started sharing stories and it was discovered that over 100 shoes had gone missing from porches, decks and backyards in a rather short period of time! Sometimes it was just one shoe, sometimes it was both shoes, and understandably it left the town befuddled as to who this prankster was. There were no clues and no witnesses.
The mystery was finally solved in 2009 when a forestry worker discovered an extensive footwear collection in a fox’s den just outside the town limits. The bushy-tailed culprit was a mama fox who had a boisterous family of pups — and an obvious shoe fetish. Altogether in multiple locations, the forestry worker found 118 shoes, that included twelve matching pairs. “She probably has more in the den,” he said, “but we did not want to venture in further because the mama fox and her youngsters are still living there.”
So, why would a fox make off like a bandit with so many shoes? First, she probably liked the scent of the shoes and since nearly every shoe was covered in little teeth marks, it was assumed she brought them back for her babes to play with and gnaw on, like chew toys.
A kind-hearted count who lives in Fohren Palace near the fox’s den retrieved the shoes and laid them out on the palace grounds for people to reclaim their lost soles. He then politely requested that rather than remove the fox and her family, that the townspeople should bring their shoes indoors at night.
It started on Halloween night in 2008. Judy Waring of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho found a feather boa on her back deck. Judy figured it was from trick-or-treaters and pitched it. The next night a pair of man’s leather gloves were sitting in the same spot. She pitched those too, but with a little more curiosity as to how they got there. One the third night when a pair of men’s underwear unceremoniously decorated her back deck, she knew something was up and she suspected it was her black and white pussycat, Jack.
Sure enough, Jack, went to the dark side on Halloween and became quite the compulsive thief. Judy started keeping the items, which quickly filled an entire bin. Items included a bikini bottom, hoodie sweatshirt, designer shorts, hats, t-shirts, nearly three dozen gloves, stuffed animals, a back brace, a long rope and a foam neck cushion.
Can you imagine the befuddlement of the owners of the missing items? I can just see an old cranky couple fighting about what happened to Elmer or Maud’s neck cushion or a mom chastising her child for loosing yet another pair of gloves! More than once, I am sure someone said, “I know I left it right here!” while others undoubtedly worried that they were loosing their minds along with whatever item was suddenly missing!
Of course, Judy didn’t want to be an accomplice to her thieving cat, even if he did have good taste in what he brought home, so she started hanging the stolen items on a clothesline in her front yard with a sign explaining the situation with her sticky-pawed cat. Many items were retrieved, but many others remained unclaimed.