Horse lovers in Italy rejoiced on September 19, 2013 when Charlie, one of the world’s smallest ponies, was recovered after being kidnapped from the 47th Annual National Horse Show.
Charlie’s ordeal began on September 12, 2013 when police say someone cut through the wire fence surrounding Charlie’s enclosure at the 47th Annual Horse Show in Cittá di Castello, carried him through a surrounding tobacco field, and sped away with him in a car.
Shortly after the kidnapping, Angelo Capecci, the President of the 47th Annual National Horse Show, described the show’s devastation after Charlie was taken.
“We have been victims of a serious criminal act that offends and humiliates the equine world,” said Capecci to Corriere Dell’Umbria, a local newspaper.
Capecci also expressed his sympathy for Bartolo Messina, Charlie’s owner.
“We sympathize with Bartolo Messina, a great equestrian artist who loves and lives by his horses, and had trained the victim of this sad episode with extraordinary kindness and ability.”
According to The New York Post, Messina expressed his agony on Facebook.
“I never imagined having to write this but unfortunately it has happened and I feel empty, violated and destroyed!” exclaimed Messina.
Fear increased when within days, various media sources covering the story including The Huffington Post reported that police were investigating the possibility that Charlie was being held for ransom. Others including Mirror claimed police were investigating the possibility that the Italian Mafia was involved in the kidnapping.
“We are not excluding any possibilities including that the perpetrators are part of a criminal organization,” a police spokesperson told reporters.
According to Horsetalk, thankfully, only a week after being kidnapped, Charlie was recovered near Lake Garda, 211 miles North from where he was abducted. He was subsequently reunited with Messina.
“It was as if they kidnapped a member of my family,” Messina reportedly said.
Charlie is one of the world’s smallest ponies at only 63cm tall, or just over 2 feet.
No arrests have been made.