Cat Bandit Smuggles Cellphones into Russian Prison

How far would you go to smuggle a clutch of cellphones into a prison?

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AP Photo/Press service of the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service for the Republic of Komi

In a June 2013 photo, guards show a cat which they catch on clandestine mission at the Penal Colony No. 1 near the city of Syktyvkar in the Komi province, some 600 miles northeast of Moscow, Russia.

How far would you go to smuggle a clutch of cellphones into a prison? Strap them with packing tape to a cat, then let the poor unwitting feline sneak over a prison fence to deliver the contraband goods?

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Guards at a prison in northern Russia noticed just such a feline perched on a fence, reports the Moscow Times. Upon closer inspection, they discovered the cat had several cellphones and chargers secured by tape encircling its abdomen. The cat was caught last Friday attempting to bypass a security perimeter around Russia’s Penal Colony No. 1, a prison located near the Republic of Komi’s capital city, Syktyvkar.

“Two packages were taped to the animal’s back,” said the Republic of Komi’s penitentiary service in a statement. “When the packages were unwrapped, guards found objects prohibited in the penitentiary facility — two cell phones with batteries and chargers.”

Authorities don’t know who taped the items to the cat or who they were intended for, and the Times says the fate of the cat is unknown.

While this was the first incident of its kind at the Komi prison, smuggling contraband (including drugs) into prisons using animals is apparently a thing nowadays: The Times mentions two instances of cats attempting to smuggle heroin into jailhouses — one last August at a prison in South Russia’s Rostov region, another in 2010 where the cat, with heroin attached to its collar, was killed by a prison security dog at a jail in Russia’s Volga Republic of Tatarstan.

A third smuggling incident occurred in Brazil last January, involving — crazy as this sounds — a cat schlepping a whole trove of goodies: a cellphone, memory card, batteries, an earphone, a saw and several drills bits.

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