Charges against alleged cat killer about to be dropped

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

MESA, Ariz. -- Animal abuse charges against a man seen in a surveillance video stealing a cat from a Mesa neighborhood are about to be dropped.

Last month Scott Andrew Graham, 39, was charged with four counts of animal abuse after he admitted to being the man caught on surveillance video stealing a cat named Biscuit. 

Graham is seen first driving by Biscuit as the cat is perched on top of its owner's SUV and then walking up to the cat, petting it, then grabbing it and walking off. Biscuit and two other cats were found tortured and killed the next day. People in the neighborhood had been on the alert since many of their cats began disappearing.

Sam Smith and Mark Phipps, who lost his cat named Oreo, saidy Graham tried to run them over after they confronted him one night in August. Smith took pictures of Graham later that month after recognizing his car. 

Based on that information, Mesa police searched Graham's car and home, finding enough evidence to arrest him on three misdemeanors and one felony pertaining to animal abuse. Graham admitted to taking 30 to 40 cats, including Biscuit, from Mesa neighborhoods but claims he only played with the animals before releasing them in other parts of town.

Now, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office has refused to prosecute Graham, sending the case back to Mesa police for more evidence. A Mesa police spokesperson said they've done all they can and detectives won't pursue the case. That means Graham will most likely face only one charge of theft stemming from the surveillance video.

Smith and Phipps are upset that the case against Graham appears to have fallen apart. They are once again patrolling their streets at night and have placed more surveillance cameras throughout their neighborhood. Both men have retained orders of protection against Graham that bar him from being within one-half mile of their homes. Phipps, however, hopes Graham ignores that order and returns.

"I hope he comes back to see us," Phipps said, "because we'll be ready for him."

Attempts to talk to Graham have been unsuccessful.