Idaho police: Joey the indoor pet squirrel stops a burglary

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Sitting on a branch a squirrel looks down from a tree in a park after a heavy snowfall in Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. Winter weather with snow continues to prevail in Belarus. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

MERIDIAN, Idaho (AP) — A pet squirrel named Joey prevented a burglary attempt in Idaho last week by scratching the teen suspect when he tried to break into a gun safe, police said.

The unidentified teenager told officers that the squirrel’s attack “scared him, obviously, because he wasn’t expecting to have, you know, a squirrel come flying out of nowhere at him,” said Officer Ashley Turner of the police department in Meridian, a Boise suburb. “So basically he said he took what he could and left as fast as he could.”

The squirrel’s owner, Adam Pearl, said Joey has lived in his house for about six months after he was found in a flower pot by a friend’s daughter when he was about one week old.

“He’s not like a dog and walks up and lets you pet him,” Pearl told the Meridian Press. “I guess the temperament would be more towards a cat — if he wants attention, then he’ll come and let you know.”

Joey eats nuts and greens, and spinach is his favorite. He buries some of the nuts in houseplants inside Pearl’s house and uses a litterbox.

“He trained himself,” Pearl said.

Joey’s reward for his vigilance were Whoppers, the squirrel’s favorite candy.

Pearl had planned to release Joey into his backyard in the spring.

“But now, I don’t know,” he said. “I’m kind of torn.”

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