Police: Man steals van full of kittens

Marion Anthony Walters (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)
Marion Anthony Walters (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A kitten is still missing after police say a man stole a van carrying rescued kittens from a group trying to adopt them out.

Marion Anthony Walters was arrested Sunday after stealing a van belonging to a cat rescue group called Midlands Kittens, police say.

Walters faces one count of driving while under suspension, simple possession of marijuana, failure to stop for lights and sirens, and assault and battery. He's accused of taking the van from the Animal Supply House on Garners Ferry Road Sunday afternoon.

Stormy Leitch and Samantha Simmons were at the Animal Supply House on Garners Ferry Road Sunday afternoon trying to find good homes for some cats. "I heard Stormy's car door close," says Simmons, "I looked in her car and saw someone that wasn't her and he pulled away."

When Simmons ran inside to tell Leitch what happened, they realized the thief had taken more than just a car. "Someone drove off with my car with four kitties in it," says Leitch. "I thought they would fall in the road and get hurt or that we'd never see them again."

That's when Simmons took matters into her own hands. "I got in my car and I followed him, and he didn't know I was behind him," claims Simmons. "The whole time I was following him I was thinking about the cats."

Simmons couldn't keep up, but deputies did. Walters eventually crashed the van while running from authorities on Bluff Road.

Most of the kittens were found safe, but one is still missing - 5-month-old Jeroma. To Leitch, it's the biggest loss. "You can't replace cats' lives, but you can replace a car," she says.

If the two women can help it, Jeroma will land on her feet. "We're going to be looking for her," expresses Simmons, "We're not going to let her stay out there."

If you happen to spot Jeroma, you could get a $100 reward. She was last seen in Gadsden at the intersection of Cedar Creek and Bluff Roads. If you have any information, contact 1-855-ADOPT-MK.

Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved.