"And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling kittens!"
After a night of doing drugs in a Boca Raton hotel room last Tuesday, Daniel Pinedo Velapatino, 21, stole thousands of dollars from his friend's wallet and then led the police on a wild chase. While being pursued, Velapatino crashed a Lexus several times, including running into a police cruiser and a fire hydrant, before deciding to make a run for it on foot. Eventually the police were able to catch up with him, but only because he stopped to pet some cats.
Boca Raton resident Candace Noonan told WBPF that she was getting her son ready for school when a complete stranger tried to enter her home from her back door.
“I said, ’Excuse me, can I help you?’” Noonan said. “He said, 'Oh, I’m so sorry. Next door I’m mowing the lawn. Do you mind if I have a glass of water?'"
Either Candace Noonan felt guilty about her place in the class system or she has a thing for gardeners, because instead of listening to the little voice that should have been telling her that it's weird for a total stranger to just walk into her home, Noonan invited the criminal in while she grabbed him a bottle of water.
When she returned, she found Velapatino laying on her floor, petting her cat.
“It was odd, very odd,” Noonan told WBPF. “He was stroking my cat. It almost looked like he either was on drugs or he was mentally handicapped.”
Now she gets it!
Her husband came in and started questioning the drugged-up thief, so, soft kitty-cats aside, Velapatino decided he had better keep it moving.
He ran back out the back door and then jumped into a canal —you gotta give him credit for the cinematic choice of escape— but the Noonans led the police to him and eventually caught him in the water with a police boat.
Velapatino later told investigators that he stole the money so that he could pay his mom back.
Candace Noonan said that now that she knows she had let a dangerous criminal into her house, she realizes the gravity of the situation and feels fortunate that nothing bad happened to her or her family. It is unclear whether counseling will be provided for the cat.
(by Myka Fox)