The only crime he was guilty of is stealing our hearts.
A rogue raccoon that enthralled Clinton Hill residents on Tuesday morning was killed hours after he scampered down Fulton Street and then rested on top of an air conditioner, attracting a crowd that hoped to catch a glimpse of the rubbish-eating rascal.
“You would have thought Beyonce was there because there was such a huge crowd of people taking photos,” said Lucas Booth, who works at Beny’s Delice, a pastry shop on Fulton Street and Vanderbilt Avenue where the scamp camped out.
Booth noticed the animal on a bench near his bicycle around 7:30 am, he said. Construction workers on a nearby site tried to help corral the creature into a cardboard box, but he quickly escaped, according to Booth, who said the critter was aggressive, but scared.
“He didn’t want anyone to come near him. If people came closer, he would stand on his hind legs and hiss,” he said. “He seemed pretty distressed.”
Officers from the 88th Precinct then arrived on the scene after being called about a raccoon chasing people up and down Fulton Street. Animal control followed, and put the mammal into a cage to end the 90 minute ordeal.
But capturing the hissing bandit was not easy, according to an officer at the scene.
“It was fighting with animal control. Obviously, no one wants to be put in a cage,” said officer Cat Calambas (and, no, we are not making that up).
The raccoon was taken to the Animal Care Center in East New York, where he was euthanized, according to a spokeswoman.
Booth, who is British, had never seen a raccoon — which are native to North America — before this morning, and expressed condolences for the mammal when informed about his death.
“I’m sure they had a reason, but it’s unfortunate he just couldn’t be returned to the wild,” Booth said. “Poor raccoon.”
This isn’t the first time that a city critter met its demise at the hands of officials — federal agents slaughtered more than 250 geese and their babies in Prospect Park in 2010 as part of an effort to reduce a waterfowl population the government ruled dangerous to planes taking off and landing at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.