A former soldier pleaded guilty to one of the strangest raids of modern times after breaking into a shelter in full military gear and armed with the wrong weapon, taking a hostage and demanding the return of his lost cat. The whole incident happened just 12 hours before he had an appointment to pick up the exact cat he requested, but decided to search the shelter anyway for an early reunion.
Tony Wittman, 45, had previously lost his cat, which he allegedly relied on for PTSD, and had contacted the shelter to reclaim it. Things quickly got out of hand when the shelter, which was only 10 minutes before closure, informed him that he had to make an appointment the next morning.
Wittman decked out tactical equipment and a fake firearm and stormed the grounds at 10:20 p.m. in search of his lost cat. As the “cat burglary” continued, Wittman took a young employee hostage at gunpoint and said, “If you do what I say and listen to me, I will not shoot you.” Wittman forced the woman who was begging for her life the time in and then demanded the details of where the cats are kept.
The woman was then handcuffed and abandoned. She was told not to move and count to 100 before calling the police. Wittman then fled the scene, and the woman contacted help.
The story continues to take a bizarre turn after Wittman returned to attend his appointment and retrieve his cat the next morning, just 12 hours after a Heat-style heist and hostage situation.
Wittman was taken into custody and confessed, and has been there without bail since January when the raid took place.
After appearing in court today, Wittman pleaded guilty to eight charges, including wrongful imprisonment and aggravated burglary. He will appear in court next February.
While it sounds like a wild and certainly unnecessary act, Wittman reportedly suffers badly from PTSD and relies on the cat to ground him during times of crisis. After his discharge from the German Armed Forces, Wittman struggled with his psychological condition for “failing to provide efficient services” and, like many former soldiers, uses a therapy animal to help him through difficult times.
It is unclear how long Wittman will be in jail, but he has not requested bail.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, resources are available. If you are in the US, a list of these can be found on the National Institute of Mental Health website, and if you are in Australia, you can find it at the Center for Clinical Interventions.
[H/T: ABC News]