HJ/EDJuly 31, 2006

Masked intruders sighted in Lester Prairie

By Ivan Raconteur
Staff Writer

The Lester Prairie Police Department investigated two complaints of masked intruders within the city limits July 19.

The intruders are believed to be members of the notorious Procyonidae family, and were identified as Procyon Lotor.

Some sources say that the name comes from the Greek words “pro” (before) and “kyon” (dog). This “before the dog” appellation is believed to be a reference to their ancestors’ close ties to primitive carnivore stock that, rather than going to the dogs, became them.

The name “lotor” is a Latin word which means “washer.”

This is said to have come from the fact that although they have a penchant for vandalism, and spend time in some distinctly unclean places, they have surprisingly fastidious dining habits, and appear to wash their food before they eat it.

It is estimated that the suspects are between 28 and 33 inches in length, and weigh between 12 and 26 pounds.

Witnesses say that the intruders have a grizzled appearance, and are black or gray in color. Their faces are white with a black bandit-type mask.

Distinguishing characteristics include triangular ears tipped with white, and ringed tails.

They are known to be nocturnal in nature, and carry out the majority of their activities at night.

It is not known why the suspects targeted Lester Prairie, but they are notorious for their raids on garbage cans, and for stealing pet food.

They frequently work alone, but in one case in northern Minnesota, a trapper found 23 members of the family hiding out in an old cabin.

Adaptability is one of the keys to their survival, and their territory includes urban, suburban, and rural districts.

They are opportunistic, and often move into barns, attics, or abandoned buildings.

Despite their cunning, the interlopers do have a weakness: speed.

They are far from the swiftest criminals on the street, and they appear to be completely defenseless against motor vehicles.

The first suspect was apprehended in front of the high school.

Police Chief Bob Carlson said this raised particular concern, since the intruders are rarely seen in daylight.

He said officer Mark Anderson improvised, and enlisted the help of a resident who owns a live-trap.

The suspect was transported outside of city limits, and released on his own recognizance.

The second suspect was located near St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

Officer Mark Thiry made contact with the suspect and persuaded him to leave town, according to Carlson.

For now, the threat has been averted, and the Procyonidae family, which sometimes uses the alias raccoon, has been banished from the city.

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