Police: Two Men Demand Cats, Injure Resident

WILKES-BARRE -- Police arrested two men over the weekend who they say tried to steal someone's cats while posing as humane officers. Now, they're charged with assault.

Police in Wilkes-Barre say the two men showed up at a home on Carey Avenue Sunday morning and demanded that the victim give them his cats, but the 74-year-old man said no.

The accused are Gabriel Nieves, 21, and Colton Roberts, 25.

Police haven't said why they targeted the man's home, and that leaves some neighbors worried.

"You got to watch out what's going on in the neighborhood!" said Bob Payne.

"There's a lot of crazy stuff that goes on around Carey Avenue!" added Antonio Huetero.

The victim accused them of using fake IDs and called 911. They then allegedly attacked him and knocked him down some stairs.

"An actual humane officer will have no problem pulling out their ID for you," said Savi Reardon, Luzerne County SPCA Humane Officer.

If SPCA officers come knocking at your door, they're always dressed in a uniform, with a badge sewn on the side arm and a metal badge on the front chest. They also carry identification. They say if they show up and you prefer to call police, they have no problem with that. Their protocol is to wait in their vehicle until authorities arrive.

"It's hard enough to gain the trust of the community as it is, and then to have people go out and posing and harming folks, it makes me very angry," said Reardon.

Nieves and Roberts were charged with aggravated assault, theft by deception, and reckless endangerment.

Police say the man did suffer some minor injuries. His cats are OK.

3 comments

  • Missy

    The man that they attacked is a very nice and is always helping out the neighborhood and keeping up his house to make it look really nice. It’s a shame that someone had to target him like this.

  • lelani

    They posed as SPCA workers…I doubt their main reason for trying this scheme was really to get the cats. I’m guessing it was to get them in the door so they could rob the place. Poor victim! I hope he’s recovering alright.

  • Truthseeker

    Does anyone know why they wanted his cats? Kind of a unusual crime. I hope they get the maximum punishment.A sad and senseless crime.

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