Rocket, the much loved Thornton Heath community cat who is familiar sight at the greengrocers on Brigstock Road has been stolen.
The beloved four-year-old moggie was taken from Roberts Fruiterers by a white man wearing a black tracksuit on Friday March 19 at 7pm. CCTV tracks a man carrying what appears to be Rocket towards the station where he was last seen.
His owner Sajid Ali said: “We miss him and desperately want to find him. He is a beautiful friendly cat.”
News of the theft prompted an outpouring of anger and sadness from shocked locals.
Sajid has so far responded to sightings, at all hours, in Streatham and Sydenham but none of them have been Rocket. Mr Ali got Rocket as a kitten and he got his name because he was fast. He has another cat at home and when the pair didn’t get on Rocket moved in to the shop and soon became a firm favourite with customers who love to fuss over him.
Sajid’s employee Asif Ali (pictured with Rocket) had been in the shop alone, so was unaware that Rocket was missing until a customer said she had seen a man in the tracksuit pick up the cat and walk off towards the station.
Sajid has reported the theft to the police and RSPCA as well as putting out missing posters.
Rocket was ‘fearless’ said Sajid and refers to him as being like a ’solider’ even owners of large dogs were afraid to pass describing Rocket as Panther-like but he liked nothing better than sitting in the shop doorway watching the world go by. He is quite distinctive with a white chest, along with three scars on: the right side of his mouth, nose and head from his younger days when he was less streetwise and had a run in with a couple of cars.
The longest Rocket has been away from the shop before is when he got in the back of a delivery van and it wasn’t until the driver was 40 minutes away that he heard meowing and returned to the grocers. He also enjoys visiting neighbouring shops and says Sajid ‘is quite big’; as he likes YBR cakes and the kebab shop who give him treats.
Sajid believes the thief may have thought Rocket, who is neutered, was a pregnant female because of his size and thought they could make some money out of the kittens.
He appealed to the thief: “At the end of the day he is part of the community and we just want him back.”
If you have any information whatsoever please contact Sajid on 07456 877 888.