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Police: Batavia catnappping case 'in limbo'
By Josh Stockinger | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 6/27/200 12:00 AM

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Batavia police say they're still reviewing whether to charge a 45-year-old woman accused of swiping her neighbor's cat and abandoning it in rural Kane County.

Deputy Chief Dennis Thomas said Friday that the woman now might be charged with misdemeanor theft rather than felony property damage and misdemeanor animal cruelty, as police initially indicated two weeks ago.

"It's still in limbo," Thomas said. "We haven't made a decision and probably won't until next week. We should have a resolution to this."

The cat, 9-year-old Linus, went missing sometime around May 28, according to its owners, Matt and Jody Lay of the 100 block of N. Harrison Street.

The Lays contacted police after a neighbor reportedly told several people on her block that she stole the cat and left it somewhere near Maple Park or Lily Lake because she "felt it was causing harm to the neighborhood by killing and capturing birds and chipmunks," according to police.

On Friday, Kane County State's Attorney John Barsanti said he reviewed paperwork on the case and believes theft is the only charge the state could prove at this time, in part because the cat is still missing.

"The felony charge was a little bit of overkill, I thought," Barsanti said. But, "I believe there is evidence to show property was taken from (the cat owners) without permission."

Theft is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by less than a year in jail, court supervision and fines. Barsanti said the woman would be issued a summons to appear in court if and when she is charged.