UPDATE: Mesa police confirm the theft charge is the only charge against Graham.
Despite Scott Graham telling Mesa cops that he "played" with 30 to 40 cats he stole -- three of which were found dead an mutilated -- he may not be charged with animal abuse.
Instead, it seems pretty likely that he'll be charged with simple theft for stealing one cat.
Channel 3 says the Maricopa County Attorney's Office declined to prosecute Graham, instead sending the case back to Mesa police, which has declined to take further action on it.
Mesa police did not immediately respond to New Times' request for an explanation.
UPDATE: Mesa police Detective Steve Berry tells New Times the theft charge is the only one sticking.
"Upon further investigation the animal cruelty charges were dropped due to lack of sufficient evidence," he says.
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. That cat 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. In fact, the guy being investigated for stealing a whole lot of cats is actually allergic to cats, his parents told police.
However, police found Graham's clothing, gloves, and car floor mats in his garage, "covered" in cat hair. In court documents, police said the trunk to Graham's car had a dead cat smell and apparent blood stains.
His excuse for this was truly awful -- "several" cats snuck into his car one night and brawled in the trunk. Believe it or not, Graham had a hard time giving details about that. Police also noted that Graham was "extremely nervous and sweated profusely" during the interview.
Graham told investigators that he actively sought out cats around his neighborhood, successfully snatching up between 30 and 40. When he was asked exactly what he did with the cats he took, his explanation was that he "would leave them somewhere other than where he found them."
You can read a probable-cause statement filed by police below, and attempt to convince yourself that there was just a huge catch-and-release game going on with the cats:
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