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Secret Service probe sparks hotel cat death arrest

July 7, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

An investigation by the US Secret Service has led to the arrest of a hotel clerk on suspicion of shooting a popular local cat with an arrow and erasing hotel security camera footage in a bid to conceal evidence.

The death of Strushie the ginger cat, a well-known and much-loved character on Miami Beach, horrified pet lovers and animal activists, the Miami Herald reported.

The animal was hit by a crossbow bolt in April, and when Miami Beach detectives trawled through the Franklin Hotel’s surveillance system looking for clues, they found footage from the day of the crime had mysteriously been erased. Suspicions were immediately aroused.

The police turned to the US Secret Service’s Electronic Crimes Task Force. The Secret Service is the US law enforcement agency, under the US Department of Homeland Security, which protects President Donald Trump, among other responsibilities. Its Electronic Crimes Task Force specialises in recovering erased data from computers, phones and other devices.

US Secret Service

The footage the Secret Service recovered at the hotel led to the arrest of a 36-year-old clerk at the property who, according to an arrest report, admitted he shot Strushie using a crossbow.

The recovered video shows the suspect hunting the stray cat while attempting to “conceal the crossbow from anyone that may be in the area”, the report said.

The cat could not be saved and had to be euthanised.

The suspect has been charged with animal cruelty and tampering with evidence. He was last reported to be in jail. The cat’s death near the hotel triggered a “Justice for Strushie” page on Facebook, with animal activists vowing to fight on until an arrest was made.

In Florida, animal cruelty is a misdemeanour of the first degree and carries a penalty of up to one year in prison. The maximum penalty in Florida for tampering with physical evidence is five years in prison and a fine of USD 10,000.

Written by Peter Needham

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