GOP operative steals Garner woman's cat, but party helps retrieve it

Posted October 29, 2020 9:40 p.m. EDT

— A Garner woman says a Republican campaign contractor stole her cat on Tuesday, but the GOP helped retrieve and return the purloined feline.

Karen Bloom, a travel agent working from home, said she heard her doorbell ring and saw a young woman who left a Republican campaign flier at her door.

"I was upstairs in my office, on the phone. I peeped out," Bloom said. "I saw Sugar Baby follow her, and I chuckled to myself and said, 'Oh, Sugar Baby has a new friend.'"

Video from a neighbor's front-door camera showed the woman scooping up Bloom's cat, Sugar Baby, putting it in her car and driving off.

"Of course, I panicked," Bloom said. "I jumped in my car with my cat sitter, Grace."

Grace Smith, the cat sitter, said she also saw the catnapping.

"I didn't scream to her like in a rude way. I was just like, 'Hey.' She knew it was the person's cat," Smith said.

Bloom and Smith went looking for the catnapper's car but couldn't find her.

"I was a mess," Bloom said. "I just kept thinking the worst things possible."

The woman worked for Stampede America, a national organization that hires people to visit the homes of registered Republicans who have not yet voted.

Bloom said she called the Wake County Republican Party, which put two volunteers on the case. Stampede America's regional manager then tracked down the woman, who relinquished the cat.

The manager took Sugar Baby back to Bloom that night and said the woman had been fired.

"I really never thought I'd see her again," she said.

Stampede America declined to comment, and the county GOP hasn't responded to a request for comment.

"I have tried to think of a reason why she would do this," Bloom said.

She filed a lost property report with Garner police. Police said they will file charges against the woman only if Bloom wants to pursue the matter.

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