Updated: $2,500 reward offered in case of mutilated Mesa cats - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Updated: $2,500 reward offered in case of mutilated Mesa cats

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Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2012 3:55 pm | Updated: 12:29 pm, Tue Sep 4, 2012.

A Mesa neighborhood is on alert after someone has been mutilating cats and dumping them in the area.

Twelve cats have gone missing and three have turned up dead in a neighborhood near Alma School and Guadalupe roads.

"The tail was cut off, the legs were broken, the teeth were broken," said Ben Smith, who lives in the neighborhood.

One cat owner may have captured the killer on surveillance video. In it, you can see a man walking up to a cat, petting it, and then grabbing the cat by its neck.

The cat's owner later found the cat dead.

Mark Phipps has been looking for his cat, Oreo, for 2 weeks.

His four young children grew up with Oreo and the family is worried about what may have happened to him.

"What would you do if it was a member of your family that was missing? leave no stone unturned. Find this guy," said Phipps.

The Humane Society of the United States announced it's offering a $2500 reward in the case.

"Disturbing doesn't even begin to describe the fact that at least one person lured and took a pet cat like a stranger with candy," said Kari Nienstedt, Arizona state director for The Humane Society of the United States. "And the notion that at least 12 cats are believed missing and three are dead under potentially similar circumstances is gut-wrenching."

Neighbors said Silent Witness and the Arizona Humane Society are also offering a reward of up to $5,000.

Neighbors hope the money will be an incentive to find the man before anything else may happen.

"The next step in my mind is humans. I've got three young kids and I need to make sure they're safe so, while I don't have cats, I do have kids and I do care for my neighbors and I do care about the safety of my neighborhood," said Smith.

Smith said he and Phipps may have actually run into the man while patrolling the neighborhood recently.

The two spotted a car matching the description of one seen in the surveillance video.

When the two tried to approach the car, they said the driver sped off. While chasing the car, Smith said he saw the man throw a cat from the car.

The suspect is described as a white male, 20-25 years old, clean shaven with short, light brown hair.

He was driving a 2007 or 2008 4-door, metallic blue Honda Civic with upgraded rims.

The Humane Society urges Mesa residents to watch their cats and keep them indoors.

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