Italian police believe the world’s smallest pony, Charlie, was kidnapped from a horsefair by the mafia on Friday.
The miniature pony, who is just 25 inches tall, was set to perform at the 47th edition of the National Horse Fair. Charlie was taken from his stall overnight the Umbrian town of Città di Castello. His owner, ‘equestrian artist’ Bartolo Messina, called police.
According to authorities, the thieves snipped a wire fence to get inside the fairgrounds and then escaped with Charlie through a nearby tobacco field to a waiting getaway car.
“Investigations are continuing. We are not excluding any possibilities including that the perpetrators are part of a criminal organization,” said a spokesman for the Carabinieri in Città di Castello.
“We were victims of a serious crime that offends and humiliates the equine world,” said President of the National Horse Show Angelo Capecci. “The security measures that for years have ensured the safety of the participants and that have always prevented the occurrence of similar incidents, were apparently undermined by a shameful act that does not reflect the horse world and its values.”
“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,” Capecci added.