Pa. lynx theft suspect offered $10K for cat

TERRIE MORGAN-BESECKER tmorgan@timesleader.com

MOUNT PLEASANT TWP. – A Kingston man who is charged with stealing a lynx from an exotic animal breeder initially offered to pay $10,000 for the big cat, but the breeder refused because the man did not have a license to possess the animal, according to an arrest affidavit.

Police say William Bobbett, 29, of Division Street, traveled to Ronald Derr’s business on April 12 and attempted to purchase the animal. After Derr refused, Bobbett told him he wanted to purchase one of Derr’s mounts and made arrangements to return the following day to complete the transaction, the affidavit says.

Instead, police said Bobbett returned on April 13 with two other men, who held Derr at gunpoint and tied his hands with duct tape. The men, unable to capture the animal, later untied Derr and forced him to capture the cat for them.

Before fleeing with the animal, Bobbett retrieved a shoe box from his vehicle, gave Derr $2,000 and told him to tell the Pennsylvania Game Commission that the cat had run away, the affidavit says.

State police in Bloomsburg said Bobbett was taken into custody Sunday by Larksville police. He was arraigned before District Judge Ola Stackhouse in Millville on charges of being an accomplice to robbery, theft by unlawful taking and unlawful restraint. He was taken to the Columbia County prison for lack of $100,000 straight bail.

Larksville police did not immediately return a phone message Monday seeking details of Bobbett’s apprehension.

According to the affidavit, Bobbett was identified as the suspect based on Derr’s description of two distinctive tear-drop tattoos beneath Bobbett’s eyes. Derr later positively identified Bobbett from a photo lineup.

The arrest is the latest in a series of problems Bobbett has encountered since September 2005, when he and his former wife were awarded $11 million in a settlement of a wrongful death suit they filed against the former Mercy Hospital, Wilkes-Barre, for the death of their son, Torajee.

In April 2006, Bobbett was shot in the chest while in the 400 block of South Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre. The shooting came just days after Bobbett, who had previously been convicted of selling drugs, reported he had received numerous threats following the announcement of the malpractice settlement. He also has been sued by a Scranton hospital for failing to pay medical bills related to his care for the shooting.

Terrie Morgan-Besecker, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 570-829-7179

http://www.timesleader.com/news/ 20070508_08bobbett_tmb_ART.html

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