METHUEN (CBS) – Caramel, a kitten that was stolen from the MSPCA-Nevins Farm shelter, has been found.
Police began investigating after a woman hid the kitten, named Caramel, in her purse while at the MSPCA-Nevins Farm adoption center in Methuen, and walked out of the shelter with a man just after 1 p.m. Thursday, officials said.
An “amazing” social media response and media blitz resulted to help find the kitten, said Mike Keiley, director of MSPCA’s adoption centers and programs, during a press conference outside the shelter late Friday afternoon.
“We got word that there was posts on social media, identifying photos that looked like this person with names, and we were able to identify addresses from there working with the police department,” Keiley said.
Methuen police then contacted Malden police, and officers tracked down the woman, Keiley said.
It was unclear Friday whether the woman would face charges in the incident.
When asked about charges, Keiley said, “We’ll take the Methuen Police Department’s lead on this.”
“Our main focus here was to make sure that the cat came back to us safely. Where that’s happened, that’s our main focus,” he said.
Surveillance video captured a woman and a man leaving the shelter. Caramel’s head is shown peeking through the woman’s handbag.
Caramel, a two-and-a-half-month-old kitten with brown and orange fur, will go into a foster home until she is available for adoption.
Keiley said it’s not often that an animal is stolen from the shelter, which sees about 75,000 people come through its doors each year.
“We can count on one hand the number of times people have stolen animals stolen from us. It’s obviously heartbreaking,” Keiley said.
The shelter’s main focus was to make sure that the kitten was returned to the shelter safely, and shelter staff worked through the night to make that happen, he said.