Alleged guinea pig thief pleads not guilty

Published 3:30 pm Saturday, September 1, 2012

AUSTIN — An Austin man who allegedly broke into an apartment and stole a guinea pig pleaded not guilty to theft and trespassing charges in Mower County District Court.

Charles Kuhlman, 19, will next appear in court Feb. 15.

According to an Austin police report, a 20-year-old victim reported her guinea pig, “Snickers,” stolen to police at about 10 p.m. Aug. 12. She found it was missing after she arrived home at her apartment at Fourth Avenue SE. The victim told police she bought the pet from a friend and Kuhlman for $20. She told police she had paid part of the fee and was going to pay the rest in a week or so, according to the police report.

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When the victim got back to the apartment, she got a text message from the friend saying her roommate was supposed to be home and her doors were “wide open.” The friend texted the victim stating the guinea pig didn’t have food or water and looked like it had gone without for days, according to the police report.

“U should never have animals if u cant take care of them and no ine broke into your house (sic),” the friend reportedly texted the victim.

Officers spoke with the friend and Kuhlman, who said the victim hadn’t yet paid in total for the guinea pig, and when they went over to the victim’s apartment, the doors were practically wide open. The friend told police she had permission to enter the apartment, but Kuhlman said he didn’t.

Police advised the duo that the guinea pig sale was a civil matter, but their actions had now made it a criminal matter.