Here’s something you don’t hear every day. A mule was stolen early Monday morning in an Escondido park while its owner was sleeping nearby and the suspected perpetrator was caught hours later.
Escondido Police Department was just as baffled as anyone about the incident. A teenage prank, possibly?
“It is certainly possible that someone did this thinking it would be funny,” Escondido police Lt. Ed Varso told Times of San Diego. “Escondido is obviously a populated urban area, so I am not so sure that anyone would have a legit use for a mule.”
The mule, a 28-year-old female called Little Girl, was allegedly stolen by David Albert Martinez, 28, and a cohort in Grape Day Park in downtown Escondido shortly after midnight while its owner slept nearby, police said. The mule was tied to a tree and the pair were seen on surveillance video leading it along the flood control bike path from Broadway.
Police caught Martinez around 2:30 p.m. as he was walking Little Girl alongside a road near Dixon Lake, about a mile east of the spot where she had gone missing, Varso said.
The mule, appeared none the worse for the ordeal, was then reunited with her relieved master, he said.
What inspired the alleged theft was unclear, the lieutenant said. Officers remained on the lookout for the outstanding suspect.
John Sears, 70, the mule’s owner is a frequent visitor to the city as he traverses on foot up and down California with his three mules, police said. On this trip, he was only accompanied by Little Girl, Sears told Times of San Diego. The mule was impounded by the California Highway Patrol on Friday near Camp Pendleton when Sears was attempting to walk from the military base to San Diego on Interstate 5, according to his blog.
The mule was taken to the San Diego Humane Society in Escondido where Sears was reunited with the animal on Saturday, according to his blog.
Sears is an advocate for equestrian trail paths in California and migrates south to San Diego and Imperial Beach during the winter and heads back to Sacramento after he gets here.
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