REPORT: Cops Say Man Set Various Critters Free From Pet Store In Wee Hours Of Night, Catch Him With Animals In Pants

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Fiona McLoughlin Contributor
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Police said they arrested an Ohio man Tuesday after he allegedly broke into numerous businesses in Columbus, eventually landing in a pet store where he allegedly set multiple animals loose.

Columbus officers arrived at the scene around 3:45 a.m. of the Petland store in Hillard Station, finding the door wide open, according to WCMH News. Officials reportedly found animals, including dogs, birds, ferrets, rabbits and gerbils, roaming free around the store.

Responding officers were able to retrieve some of the loose animals, but a few rabbits, ferrets and gerbils were not recovered, the outlet reported.

Authorities were looking for a homeless man who had previously broken into Roosters, a chicken wings restaurant, and Famous Footwear all along the same road, according to WCMH News. At the scene of the crime in the shoe store, blood was reportedly discovered on numerous pieces of merchandise.

The suspect was later found roughly an hour after the alleged incident in a parking lot, the outlet reported.

Upon arrest, officers discovered multiple gerbils inside the suspect’s pants, according to the outlet. The animals were unharmed. (RELATED: Man Charged After Allegedly Smuggling 1,700 Reptiles, Some Of Which Were Hidden In His ‘Groin Area’).

The man involved was later treated for the injuries sustained during the alleged break-ins.

Back in December 2023, a man was busted at a Thailand airport after customs officers discovered he was allegedly attempting to smuggle animals in his underwear onto a flight, according to Taiwan News. The suspect allegedly put two otters and a prairie dog inside pantyhose before wrapping them around his waist, the outlet noted.

The 22-year-old man was caught with the animals when passing through the X-ray machine at the airport’s security, the outlet reported. The animals were rescued and handed over to Thailand’s wildlife conservation, according to the New York Post.

The man was charged for allegedly moving protected wildlife, trafficking prohibited items and trying to export animals without a license, Taiwan News reported.