Auckland couple track down ‘stolen’ cat, thanks to internet sleuthing

Jaime E. Love

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Auckland feline Frosty was allegedly stolen from Birkenhead woman Victory Chapuzet, who did some internet sleuthing to get him back.

James Halpin/Stuff

Auckland feline Frosty was allegedly stolen from Birkenhead woman Victory Chapuzet, who did some internet sleuthing to get him back.

When Frosty the cat went missing, an Auckland couple took to sleuthing the internet in an effort to find him.

Victory Chapuzet’s beloved 5-year-old feline went missing on May 7 but before she realised he was gone, she received calls and texts from an unknown person about Frosty.

Victory Chapuzet and her cat, Frosty.

James Halpin/Stuff

Victory Chapuzet and her cat, Frosty.

Chapuzet missed the calls but the texts asked about who owned the cat, how old Frosty was and the anonymous texter said they wanted to adopt him.

She thought it was weird someone was asking about their cat but ignored the messages.

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Even after it was clear Frosty was missing, Chapuzet didn’t initially realise the texts were linked to his disappearance. Over the next couple of days, she put up flyers around local stores in Auckland’s Birkenhead and posted on every cat Facebook page she could find.

But after three days, Frosty still hadn’t come home.

Frosty poses grumpily for the camera after being woken from his slumber on a chair.

James Halpin/Stuff

Frosty poses grumpily for the camera after being woken from his slumber on a chair.

“It was a horrible feeling … it is hard to explain, it is the bond that we have … He is a companion, we take care of him. He is our baby.’’

Chapuzet thought back to the texts and calls and wondered whether the two things were related. She decided to extend the search online.

Frosty the cat enjoys a head scratch.

James Halpin/Stuff

Frosty the cat enjoys a head scratch.

She looked up the woman’s cellphone number on WhatsApp and found a profile. She then reverse image searched the profile picture, which included the woman, and found social media accounts.

Chapuzet and her partner monitored the woman’s social media accounts.

“From there we were just stalking, stalking, seeing if anything was coming up,” she said.

Eventually, a story was posted to the alleged thief’s Instagram account. Chapuzet said her boyfriend watched it over and over again.

On about the 20th watch, they realised that above one of the cat day-beds covered in plush toys was a little paper sign that read: “Frosty.”

Frosty the cat happy at home after he was allegedly stolen by a woman.

James Halpin/Stuff

Frosty the cat happy at home after he was allegedly stolen by a woman.

Chapuzet gave all the details, including the woman’s name, to police, but they were no help, she said.

So, she texted the woman and bluffed, saying they had security footage and the police were on the case.

“There’s no way you can escape it, we will expose you on every social media, your life will be ruined,” she said.

The woman replied and said she had found Frosty and was taking good care of him. Chapuzet received a photo of her cat wearing a pumpkin cat pullover, sitting in a kitty litter tray.

A picture of Frosty sent by the alleged thief.

Supplied/Supplied

A picture of Frosty sent by the alleged thief.

The pair met in Britomart, where the woman lifted Frosty out of a cat pram and gave him back to Chapuzet.

Chapuzet said it was not OK to steal an animal. “Even if you think you did the right thing and took care of him, it is still not right,” she said.

While the cat’s rightful owner is ecstatic that he is back in her life, Frosty himself gave this reporter a … frosty reception when we visited, dismissing questions with a flick of his tail.

Stefan Sagar, area commander for Waitematā East, said police had “invested significant time and resources” into the matter and had spoken with the person Chapuzet alleged was the thief.

“From this we have established this person found the cat in a public place and that it was returned to the complainant,” he said.

Warwick Smith/STUFF

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