Stealing cat lands Russian armed robbers in jail for 7 years

Stealing cat lands Russian armed robbers in jail for 7 years
A Russian court has handed seven-year jail terms and penalties of around $4,500 to two men who stole a domesticated caracal cub and the equivalent of $9,000 from a Moscow couple, threatening them with a gun.

In June 2014, Timofey Bolshakov and Ilman Ahmadov came to the breeders' apartment posing as buyers of the cub, threatening the wife, Anna, with a gun and engaging in a fight with the husband. CCTV footage shows them entering and leaving with a bag, presumably containing the kitten.

Anna said the robbers stole the caracal along with half a million rubles ($14,000 at June 2014 exchange rates), threatening her with a gun.

The couple had gone to court seeking the aforementioned cost of the cat and a further settlement of the ruble equivalent of $18,000 for damages, but only managed to secure the partial return of the wild cat’s cost, without either the moral damages or compensation for the stolen half-million rubles.

Bolshakov and Ahmadov were arrested in August.

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It was not immediately clear if the luxury kitten had been found, but the couple told Moskovskiy Komsomolets they believe it’s been resold several times since then.

It is also being reported that the victims sought the equivalent of $54,000, which the perpetrators’ families could not manage, leading eventually to a seven-year prison sentence. The defense says it wants to appeal the decision, while the couple say they will seek retribution from another court.

Caracals are very expensive wild cats that are increasingly becoming popular in the modern surge to own exotic pets in urban conditions – something experts are discouraging.

The medium-sized cat can grow to three times the size of a domesticated house breed. It’s known by its visual relationship to the lynx, with little pointy tufts of hair on its ears, but is more closely related to other savannah-dwelling cats common to sub-Saharan Africa. It can be said the animal is more lucky than its relatives, such as the leopard-looking serval – also a medium-sized wild cat. Unlike them, the caracal has very course fur and is therefore less popular among poachers. It is, however, also listed as endangered.