Hedgehog whodunit solved, police say, with alleged culprit in custody

Published: Friday, October 4, 2013 at 2:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 4, 2013 at 2:32 p.m.

For almost a week, a Gainesville woman was left to ponder over who had taken her beloved hedgehog and a bin containing its food and little wooden hut, which had vanished from the woman's porch.

An initial search of the premises uncovered no trace of the animal or its belongings, and the case appeared to go cold when police questioned the prime suspect and he denied any knowledge of the spiny critter's whereabouts.

But police now say the mystery over the missing hedgehog has been solved — with the culprit in jail and the pet returned to its rightful owner.

The case began Sept. 15, when the Gainesville Police Department responded to Countryside at the University apartments at 4000 SW 23rd Terrace in reference to a stalking investigation. The victim told police she was being stalked by Davd M. Ford, 26, of 3539 SW 19th Ave, D1. In addition, police reported, the woman's pet hedgehog had been taken, and she suspected Ford was behind the disappearance.

Police said enough evidence was produced to support the stalking charge, and Ford was arrested that day. However, he denied taking the hedgehog and refused to allow officers to search his apartment.

But while Ford was in the Alachua County jail, the victim learned on Sept. 20 that Ford's father had come to his son's apartment and removed the hedgehog, police reported. He later told police he didn't want the hedgehog to die while his son was in jail and returned the animal to the woman.

Ford on Thursday was charged additionally with burglary of a dwelling and grand theft of a dwelling in connection with the hedgehog's disappearance. He remained jailed Friday in lieu of $75,000 bond — and the hedgehog was back to frolicking in its owner's care.

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