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The "animals involved in crimes" in this episode of The List Show range from petty wildlife criminals to key pieces of evidence. You'll learn about the weevils put on trial and the monkey who likes biting (but not pepperoni).

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In the 1500s, France found itself embroiled in  an unusual court case. The defendant? Weevils,   a type of small beetle with a big  appetite.

In 1587, the insects were   decimating the vineyards around St. Julien,  France, leaving the town with no choice but   to put them on trial. The weevils’ lawyer  argued that God had put the beetles on Earth,   and wouldn’t have created them without also  providing them with proper sustenance.

The   prosecution countered that argument by saying the  weevils were meant to be subordinate to humans. This case, like other ecclesiastical trials of  the past, was likely less about punishing the   hungry beetles and more about easing a general  fear of lawlessness amid uncertain times.   The citizens of St. Julien decided to  offer a plot of land to the weevils,   but the defense attorney rejected it,  saying it didn’t provide enough food for   the critters.

The final result of the trial  is unknown because, in an odd twist of fate,   the last page of the court records was  destroyed—perhaps by vengeful weevils! Hi, I’m Erin McCarthy, editor-in-chief  of, and welcome to The   List Show from my living room. Those  16th-century insects are just one case   of animals involved in quirky crimes  I’m going to share with you today.

Not every animal accused of a crime has  been able to avoid time behind bars.   In 2008, police in Chiapas, Mexico, arrested a  rowdy donkey after he bit one man in the chest   and kicked another. The donkey spent three days  in jail—in a cell usually reserved for drunk   people—and wasn’t released until his owners paid  for the victims’ medical bills and covered their   salaries for the days they missed work due to  their injuries. As officer Sinar Gomez said,   "Around here, if someone commits a crime  they are jailed — no matter who they are." That’s not the only time asses have been  thrown in the slammer.

In Orai, India,   eight donkeys served jail time for snacking  on nearly $1,000 worth of saplings that had   been planted near a local jail as part of  a community cleanup campaign. The equines’   poor meal choice earned them four days  in jail. Fortunately for the donkeys,   their owner enlisted some powerful help to  ensure their freedom.

After unsuccessfully   pleading for their release, he persuaded  a politician to accompany him to the jail   and secure the donkeys’ freedom in exchange  for a promise to keep a closer eye on them. In 2016, a goat was arrested in Janakpur, India,  for a similar crime. After the goat munched on   some flowers from the district magistrate’s  garden, both the animal and its owner were   arrested.

They were eventually released on bond. As it turns out, India’s police have made   quite a few animal arrests. In 2015, they  detained a pigeon in the town of Manwal,   near the Pakistani border—an area that had  long suffered political tensions between the   two countries.

After a teenage boy discovered  a strange message stamped on the bird’s body,   he brought it to the local police station.  Because the message was written in Urdu, the   officers opted to keep the bird in their custody  because they suspected it may have been a spy.  Just a few years earlier, in  2011, the situation was reversed:   This time, it was Pakistani officers who detained  an animal that had wandered over from India.   A monkey was found roaming the town of Bahawalpur,  and was captured and detained by authorities   for trespassing—though some have speculated  that it may have been related to the pigeon   incident. The monkey was placed in a zoo, where he  feasted on fruit and delighted curious visitors.   And while it doesn’t seem that anyone thought the  monkey was a trained spy, I probably would watch   an all-monkey reboot of James Bond, oo-oo 7. No?  Would you accept The Mandrill With The Golden Gun?   My director gave me a dozen of these,  and I assure you, they’re all that bad.

Not every accused monkey was given such a cushy  sentence, though. In 2004, a city in India was   terrorized by a particularly problematic primate.  The monkey stole food from people’s houses,   threatened children with bricks, accosted  pedestrians by ripping the buttons off their   shirts, and even swiped a person’s math textbooks  and calculator—good luck using “a rogue monkey   stole my school supplies” as an excuse for not  turning in your homework. To put an end to the   attacks, local authorities placed the animal in a  barred cell built in the corner of a zoo that was   specifically reserved for badly behaved monkeys.  A sign outside the tiny jail read, "These monkeys   have been caught from various cities of Punjab.  They are notorious.

Going near them is dangerous."  A monkey has also been arrested in Florida, though  that animal, a capuchin named Mookie, was able to   serve his sentence at home. After Mookie bit a man  on the shin in a parking lot outside a convenience   store, he was placed under a 30-day house  arrest—a quarantine officials imposed to make   sure the primate wouldn’t show signs of rabies,  in case the disease had prompted the attack.   Mookie wound up being rabies-free, and is believed  to have bitten the man because he was startled.   Sadly, Mookie’s mandatory isolation forced his  owner to cancel the beach party he had been   planning for the monkey’s upcoming 20th birthday,  but all was not lost. On the eve of his release,   Mookie celebrated with his owner, Brad Berman,  and 20 family members—Brad’s family members,   that is.

They shared a vanilla-frosted cake  with Mookie’s picture on it and enjoyed   some cheese pizza. As Berman told Florida  Today, “[Mookie] doesn’t like pepperoni.”    It’s important to keep our animal friends  happy, and in 2008 Switzerland introduced   a rule to see to it—in one particular case, at  least. The unusual animal rights law made it   illegal to own just one guinea pig at a time.  Why?

The little guys can otherwise get lonely. One unlucky creature got itself in hot water  not for physical violence, but for verbal abuse.   In 2015, police in the Indian state of  Maharashtra arrested a parrot named Hariyal.   The very vocal bird had picked up a habit  of cursing at an elderly woman. She was in   the middle of a nasty property dispute with her  stepson, and she believed the parrot had picked   up its foul habit from him.

Supposedly, the man  had spent two years training Hariyal to verbally   abuse his stepmother whenever she passed by. He  and the bird were summoned to the police station,   where the parrot was detained and later handed  over to the Maharashtra forestry department. Let's take a look at another case of a  loud-mouthed parrot, this time in Colombia.   A drug cartel had trained a bird named Lorenzo  to be their lookout.

Whenever police happened to   go near the cartel’s headquarters, Lorenzo  would scream for the men to run. In 2010,   when police finally managed to sneak around  Lorenzo and avoid triggering his warning call,   they discovered a cache of drugs and  weapons, as well as other lookout birds.    Avian security systems aren't limited  to Colombia. In 2019, a bird living in a   Brazilian community called Vila Irmã Dulce,  was trained to shout “Mom, the police!”   whenever officers got too close (I mean,  presumably in Portuguese, but you get the idea).   Authorities discovered the bird during a raid on a  drug den.

The animal’s owners had no need to worry   about their loyal lookout snitching on them—the  bird didn’t make a peep after its capture. A bird ended up at the center of another case  in February 2014. Hira, a parrot, was apparently   the only witness to the murder of Neelam Sharma.  Hira didn’t outright snitch and say the killer’s   name—though I absolutely wish that’s how this  story ended—but Neelam’s widower, Vijay, noticed   the bird became extremely agitated whenever his  nephew visited the house, or even when his name   was said.

According to some reports, after Vijay  mentioned this to the police, his nephew confessed   to the crime. Sadly for Hira, his help in solving  the case flew largely under the radar: The police   later downplayed his involvement, and the local  news reported his name as Hercule the Parrot. In 2013, prison guards spotted a white cat  creeping around the gates of the medium security   prison they guarded in Arapiraca, Brazil.

The  cat was a familiar face around the property—the   inmates may have raised it—but this time,  something was off: Tape was wrapped around   the animal's body. Upon closer examination, the  guards found saws, drills, a phone and charger,   a memory card, batteries, and an earphone  stuck to the tape. Authorities couldn’t figure   out which prisoner had been attempting to use  the feline as an accomplice to his jailbreak,   and the cat-cessory to the crime was briefly  detained, then transported to an animal shelter.

Prisoners in Russia had a similar idea. In 2013,  authorities captured a cat after discovering it   was being used to smuggle phones and chargers  into a prison near Syktyvkar. One day, while   the cat sat atop a fence, the officers noticed the  electronics taped to its stomach and detained it.

Sometimes, rather than committing the  crimes, cats help solve them. In 1989,   when a pet shop worker named Lori Auker’s body  was discovered three weeks after she went missing,   police began to investigate her estranged husband,  Robert Auker. Despite the fact that Robert had   meticulously cleaned his car, and the fact that  it went through multiple owners after his father   traded it in following Lori’s disappearance,  forensic workers were still able to discover   fur that matched the victim’s two cats.

The  same fur was also found on a splint Robert   had worn the very same day Lori vanished. With  other evidence also implicating him, Robert was   convicted. Turns out, cat fur’s tendency to cling  to everything isn’t always such a bad thing—unless   you’re trying to get away with murder.

In a case with decidedly lower stakes:   a wild beaver took a little unsanctioned  trip to a dollar store in St. Mary’s County,   Maryland, back in December 2016. Rather  than browse for cheap holiday knick-knacks,   the beaver wandered around the store, knocking  things to the ground.

The local sheriff’s   department arrested the rowdy patron, then  released it to a wildlife rehabilitation center.  In 2008, a bear in Macedonia raided a  beekeeper’s hives and stole his honey.   The beekeeper blasted Serbian “turbo-folk” music  to scare the repeat offender away, but that didn’t   deter it from stopping by and stealing a sticky  snack once the music stopped. The bear failed   to show up to court to answer for its crimes,  probably because, you know—bear—and was eventually   found guilty of theft and damage. Because no one  owned the wild animal, the government was ordered   to pay the beekeeper the equivalent of $3500  USD for the damages it caused to his hives.  In 2017, a different bear got off scot-free after  vandalizing and stealing a Subaru in Durango,   Colorado.

The bear broke into the  SUV, tore the steering wheel off,   pulled the radio out of the dashboard, broke  the rear window, and used the car as its own   personal toilet. Then, the animal somehow  released the parking brake, causing the car   to roll backward and crash into a mailbox and a  few utility boxes. After causing extensive damage,   the furry vandal fled the scene of the crime.

In Canada, police had the opposite problem:   Instead of dealing with an animal who fled the  scene of the crime, they had to deal with one who   wouldn’t leave their crime scene alone. A bird  believed to be a crow named Canuck had already   earned a reputation as a beloved troublemaker in  Vancouver. In 2016, his antics got him in a tussle   with the law.

When police were dispatched to a  car fire, they encountered a man wielding a knife.   Canuck, who had been spotted sitting on the burned  car, scooped up the knife and flew away with it.   A cop had to chase him for a bit before the bird  finally dropped his shiny evidential treasure.  In 2010, a fox went on a crime  spree in the German town of Foehren,   snatching peoples’ footwear and stashing it  in her den, perhaps for her kits to play with.   In May 2018, a police station in the Japanese  city of Nagaokakyo received calls from eight   households saying that shoes had vanished  from outside their houses over night. A police   stakeout revealed that a pair of foxes had been  snatching people’s sandals from their porches.   Officers followed the duo back to their den,  where they discovered 40 pairs of sandals.   It’s believed the foxes were hoarding  the shoes not to beef up their wardrobe,   but as the result of an instinct to stock up on  food and other items while building their nests.   Rather than arrest the vulpine criminals for the  thefts, police officers sent out leaflets advising   people to start storing their shoes inside. 24. Instead of stuffing their treasures   underground, some foxes opt to share their  contraband goods.

In 2014, a woman in Leeds,   England, reported that a fox had been dropping  shoes off in her back garden for months,   at one point bringing her new items each day.  She installed a shoe rack outside her house,   so neighbors could come reclaim their footwear. Speaking of returning stolen goods to neighbors,   a family in Southampton, England, found themselves  in the awkward position of amassing a collection   of other peoples’ underwear. Oscar, their  13-year-old foster cat, had developed a habit   of stealing people’s intimates from their clothing  lines, including at least 10 pairs of underwear,   among other items like socks and rubber  gloves, and proudly gifting them to his   humans.

Afraid the community would suspect a  panty pilferer with more perverted motives,   Oscar’s humans turned him into the police.  Fortunately for Oscar, he wasn’t arrested,   and his foster family opted to adopt him. Steven the seagull is another repeat   offender. For years, Steven would wander into a  Scottish bakery and steal items off the shelves,   a routine he’d developed ever since the store  opened.

He was a pretty bold thief—he would visit   the store upwards of 10 times each day. Steven was  particularly fond of chips, and gained internet   fame after pictures of him deftly snatching  a bag of salt and vinegar chips went viral.  We’ll leave you where we started off: with  insects. A wild grasshopper was the key to   solving a 1985 murder in Texas.

Investigators  uncovered little physical evidence at the scene   of the crime. They did, however, find a  grasshopper with a missing limb on the   victim’s clothes. They later discovered a severed  insect leg stuck to the cuff of a suspect’s pants.   The leg was matched to the grasshopper,  which led to the suspect’s conviction.

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