ROGERS PARK — A Rogers Park auto body shop is offering a reward for the return of Pepper the kitten, a shop cat who was taken from the business Thursday.
A person walked away with Pepper, a 9-week-old black cat, around 10 a.m. Thursday outside Auto Tecx Collision and Repair, 7111 N. Clark St., office manager Jackie Rios said.
Pepper is the newest addition to the Auto Tecx family, joining 2-year-old Peanut as a shop cat looked after by its employees. The friendly and playful Pepper has taken to his new home and is often seen sitting in the bay door of the auto garage, Rios said.
Rios could not find Pepper when she arrived to work Thursday, she said. A coworker had seen him that morning, having taken a photo of the kitten. Then employees checked security footage, which showed a person walking off with the black cat just outside the business, Rios said.
“Someone picked him up,” Rios said. “It might have been a misunderstanding, just picked him up thinking he was a stray. But she never stopped to ask.”
A $100 reward is being offered for the no-questions-asked safe return of Pepper to Auto Tecx, Rios said.
Auto Tecx has long had cats living at the business and acting more as pets than shop cats who patrol for rodents, Rios said. A coworker recently adopted a cat that was pregnant, and Auto Tecx decided to take on one of the kittens as their own, naming him Pepper.
The cat has quickly become a beloved member of the team, Rios said. Workers come in on their off day Sunday to care for the cats.
“He’s extremely loved,” she said. “Customers come here just to visit him. One customer called and asked about him. I couldn’t dare tell her he was missing.”
After finding that Pepper was gone, Auto Tecx employees left work early Thursday to search the neighborhood and post fliers. As of Friday afternoon, there have been no leads in the case, Rios said.
Pepper was slated to go to the veterinarian next week and get micro-chipped, which would help his owners locate the cat, Rios said.
Any one with information on the whereabouts of Pepper can call 773-627-3943.
“He is such a character, Mr. Pepper,” Rios said. “We just want him home.”
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