Russell Hofstad Was Hungry -- So He Broke Into a Warehouse and Skinned a Cat, Wore Tail as Necklace

There may be more than one way to skin a cat, but 24-year-old Russell Hofstad only needed one -- with a butcher's knife...in a warehouse/concert venue...that he broke into.

Similarly, there could be several reasons to skin a cat. Hofstad's: he was hungry.

According to court records obtained by New Times, police were called to the District 8 Warehouse at 320 South 25th Street in Phoenix about 4:40 yesterday afternoon after the owner of the building found Hofstad had broken in and was still inside.

Hofstad apparently had been in the building for a while -- at least long enough to skin and gut a cat, write things on the walls, deploy every fire extinguisher in the building, and break all the fire alarm panels.

When police made contact with Hofstad, he was wearing what's described in the arrest report as a "paint mask." He was also wearing the dead cat's tail as a necklace.

Police then found the rest of the cat -- and a pile of its guts -- in the middle of the warehouse.

According to the report, "the cat had been skinned and gutted. The internal organs were on ice in a cooler used to hold water. There were screwdrivers and clippers next to the cat's body. There was a leg missing, and [Hofstad] was wearing the tail around his neck on a rope along with a piece of the cat's internals."

Hofstad told police he'd recently been released from jail and had nowhere to go, which is why he broke into the warehouse. He says he knew of the warehouse because he'd recently attended a "rave" there.

As for the cat, Hofstad told police he hadn't eaten in a while, so he bashed the animal over the head with a stick and used a butcher's knife he'd found to skin and gut it.

In addition to wearing the animals organs as a necklace, Hofstad told police he'd planned to taxidermy the cat. He also wanted to save the animals skeleton so he could use it as a decoration at a party.

The writing all over the walls, Hofstad explained to the officers, were "reminders," and they were written on the walls because he didn't have any paper.

The cops suspect Hofstad was under the influence of something at the time of his arrest -- his eyes were blood shot and he was rambling incoherently -- but it's unclear in the report what, if any, drugs he had taken.

Hofstad was booked into a Maricopa County jail on one count each of animal cruelty, burglary, and criminal damage.

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