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Kidnapper Of Worlds Smallest Horse Arrested

A man in Italy has been arrested for kidnapping the world's smallest horse. Charlie, a Lilliputian horse standing just 63cm tall which entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the planet's tiniest, was stolen in Italy last year. Bartolo Messina, his owner, paid a ransom of just 2,500 GBP to kidnappers because he was certain the Mafia was behind the snatch and he was afraid Charlie would die if he didn't pay up. "It was in September last year when I went to his stall one morning to find him gone," said Messina. "Then I got a phone call shortly afterwards saying they would be sending me his head and hooves if I didn't agree to pay the ransom. "I was caught between a rock and a hard place. The money was surprisingly little but I did not want to get police involved in case I was being watched. In the end I felt I had no choice." Charlie was snatched from his stall overnight in the city of Citta di Castello in central Italy. He was due to perform at a local show with his 'equestrian artist' owner but his act was cancelled. Police said that the horse thieves snipped a wire fence surrounding the fairgrounds, grabbed the miniature horse and made off through a nearby tobacco field where a car was waiting to speed them away. The President of the National Horse Show, Angelo Capecci, called the theft 'a shameful act'. He said: "We were victims of a serious crime that offends and humiliates the equine world. "The security measures that for years have ensured the safety of the participants and that have always prevented the occurrence of similar incidents, were apparently undermined by a shameful act that does not reflect the horse world and its values." He added: "We sympathise with Bartolo Messina, a great equestrian artist who loves and lives by his horses, and had trained the victim of this sad episode with extraordinary kindness and ability." In the end the ransom money was paid and the horse was returned to its owner but the police probe continued. Now Massimo Braidic, 40, has been arrested as the plot mastermind. He was arrested at a petrol station near the central city of Perugia.

austriantimes.com


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