Mesa police have again confirmed that Scott Graham -- who was previously accused of killing at least one cat in his neighborhood -- will be charged with theft, and is not facing any charges related to animal cruelty.
In fact, a statement from the department says "[a]ny additional or future charges are unlikely" unless investigators get any more evidence to continue the case.
However, police note, "At this time, investigative efforts have been exhausted."
New Times' call for more information was not immediately returned.
According to court documents previously obtained by New Times, Graham was arrested on August 8 on charges of intentional cruel mistreatment of an animal, killing an animal without the owner's consent, reckless cruel mistreatment of an animal, and theft.
Graham was caught on a video-surveillance camera taking a cat from the top of the cat-owner's car near Guadalupe Road and Alma School Road about a month ago. A cat -- which police believes to be the same cat that was stolen -- was found a few days later, dead and mutilated behind a nearby strip mall. Another mutilated cat was found there too, and a third dead cat had also been found elsewhere, which police were trying to link to Graham.
Police spoke with Graham's parents at their house after Graham was accused by a neighbor of taking the cat -- and throwing a cat at him out of his car window -- and they told police their son didn't even own a cat. However, according to the court documents, police found Graham's clothing, gloves, and car floor mats in his garage, "covered" in cat hair. A probable-cause statement said that the trunk to Graham's car had a dead cat smell and apparent blood stains.
According to the documents, Graham's excuse was that "several" cats snuck into his car one night and brawled in the trunk. Graham had a hard time giving details about that, according to the documents. Police also noted that Graham was "extremely nervous and sweated profusely" during the interview.
The documents say that Graham eventually told investigators that he actively sought out cats around his neighborhood, successfully snatching up between 30 and 40. His explanation of what he did with those cats was that he "would leave them somewhere other than where he found them."
(The court documents we reference can be found in a previous post.)
Again, we're still trying to get the details on what happened here, but the following statement is what Mesa police released last night:
This arrest was reference the investigation of a missing cat from the area of Extension / Natal in Mesa. In addition, several other cats were believed to be missing from the area, although no other reports were made by victims. Subsequent to the report, three cats were found deceased not far from the original theft location. One of those cats was believed to possibly be the cat stolen from our victim's residence.
At the time of Scott Graham's arrest, testimony and evidence available to arresting officers supported the listed charges. However, subsequent investigation by detectives has developed information which brings some the initial facts into question. Based upon this development, the decision was made to continue with only the Theft charge. At this time, investigative efforts have been exhausted. Any additional or future charges are unlikely until additional evidence is developed or received that would allow the investigation to continue.
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