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Key worker’s heartbreak over missing cat as police investigate report of theft

PUBLISHED: 18:00 04 June 2020 | UPDATED: 18:31 04 June 2020

Samantha Larke said the family was heartbroken after Leo the cat's disappearance. Picture: Samantha Larke

Samantha Larke said the family was heartbroken after Leo the cat's disappearance. Picture: Samantha Larke

Archant

A key worker says the disappearance of her pet cat has left her family distraught, as police investigate whether the feline was stolen.

Samantha Larke with her husband and two children, aged two and five. Picture: Samantha LarkeSamantha Larke with her husband and two children, aged two and five. Picture: Samantha Larke

Norfolk police say they are investigating the alleged theft of Leo, a three-year-old Persian cat who belongs to Samantha Larke, a support worker for autistic children.

Mrs Larke, 39, said she had been left an “emotional wreck” by the cat’s disappearance.

Leo went missing last week from Thorpe Marriott. Picture: Samantha LarkeLeo went missing last week from Thorpe Marriott. Picture: Samantha Larke

“I don’t know how anyone could have the heart to steal a cat,” she said.

“Leo is part of the family and the best friend of my five-year-old son who is on the autistic spectrum and was really helping him with his development.

Samantha Larke said Leo the cat was her five-year-old son's best friend. Picture: Samantha LarkeSamantha Larke said Leo the cat was her five-year-old son's best friend. Picture: Samantha Larke

“My two-year-old daughter is also devastated and they both keep crying and asking where Leo is. They look out the window for him every morning.”

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Last Wednesday, Leo, who was purchased by the Larke family for £1,500, went missing.

Leo, who normally leaves the house once a day, did not return to their Thorpe Marriott home for hours which prompted Mrs Larke to post multiple missing cat posts on social media and contact local veterinary practices.

The Larke family. Photo: Samantha LarkeThe Larke family. Photo: Samantha Larke

Despite working 12-hour shifts and 70-hour weeks, Mrs Larke also searched the local area in the hope of finding Leo in her free time.

She said: “I spent all weekend stressing out looking for him and I am mentally exhausted and shattered from all of it. This is the last thing we need on top of a global pandemic.

“I knew straight away it was strange he did not return especially as his breed is worth a lot of money.

“What has happened is disgusting and I’m also worried Leo is not getting the care he needs. All I want is for our cat to be returned.”

After receiving messages which caused concern, Mrs Larke reported her suspicions of theft to Norfolk police on Monday, June 1. The force has since launched an investigation.

A spokesperson for Norfolk police said: “I can confirm the matter was reported to us on Monday, June, 1 and we are investigating the alleged theft. Enquiries are ongoing.”


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