If I could consult some sort of scale that would rate stories on their insanity -- relative to the city -- this one would be an eight, I think.
A case currently making its way through the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau will be of great interest to small, twitchy members of the animal kingdom.
The target of the investigation is an amiable, wide-eyed squirrel.
Or, more specifically, a cop who donned a wide-eyed squirrel costume last Friday for a little birthday celebration and now finds himself at the center of a nutty situation.
The curious tail — er, tale — goes something like this:
Evelyn Heath, a noted animal lover and police chief inspector assigned to the Forensic Science Bureau, was recently accused by a co-worker of having harbored a squirrel in her office, police sources told the Daily News.
While the claim was believed to be untrue, it wasn’t forgotten by cops who planned a little birthday celebration for Heath last week.
On Friday morning, several officers called Heath into an office at the bureau’s headquarters at 8th and Poplar streets and presented her with a few gifts. Suddenly, sources said, there was a knock at the door.
Heath opened the door and found a tall, grinning squirrel — complete with a bag of nuts — hopping in front of her, sources said.
An officer who works at the bureau’s headquarters had rented the suit from Pierre’s Costumes, at 3rd and Arch streets.
Heath found the gag hilarious, and even invited the “squirrel” up to her office to pose for a few pictures, sources said.
The laughter was a welcome change surprise for many cops at the bureau, where the tone is often somber due to the assorted crime scene remnants and images that are processed there.
The costumed cop left Heath’s office and waved at curious onlookers. And that’s when the fur started to fly.
Sources said Carmen Vuotto, a captain who was transferred from Forensics on Friday to the police radio room, caught a glimpse of the waving squirrel and thought he was being mocked as he left the unit. Vuotto and Heath reportedly have a tense relationship.
Vuotto filed a complaint against the squirrel-cop with Internal Affairs. Several investigators were immediately dispatched to 8th and Poplar.
Police officials, including Internal Affairs Chief Inspector Anthony DiLaqua, declined to discuss the investigation yesterday.
FOP vice president John McGrody said the union is “going to refuse to comment, pending further investigation.”
Representatives from the Fluffy Tailed Creatures Local 227 also could not be reached for comment.