SAN DIEGO - An Ocean Beach woman's desperate search for her missing cat has made her a target of a scammers.
"It's basically like someone stole my baby," Keri Kirchner said of her 6-year-old tabby cat Lily. "She's so cute. It was almost like she could sense if you were having a bad day."
Kirchner said Lily and her neighbor's cat Jack both vanished on the morning of Aug. 21. They were last seen in an alley near Long Branch Ave. and Abbott St.
"I posted on Craigslist, Nextdoor; I reported her missing to the chip company," said Kirchner.
The leads poured in, giving Kirchner hope that her cat would be back.
"There's a text saying, 'Call me ASAP, I have information about the whereabouts on your cat, signed Toby,'" Kirchner said.
Kirchner was excited and texted back. Later, that person replied demanding an iTunes gift card before he would return Lily.
"So at that point, I knew it was a scam," said Kirchner. "I was devastated. For what felt like an eternity, I thought I was finally going to get my cat back."
Kirchner is already offering a $500 reward to whoever can return her beloved cat.
"It was horrifying to think that somebody would actually do that," she told 10News.
However, that wasn't the only disturbing lead Kirchner received. Another person sent her a text saying he "stole her cat and would eat him later."
"I didn't even respond because I didn't want to engage in conversation with someone that sick," said Kirchner.
Kirchner hopes the games will stop and someone will safely return Lily.
"She was loved by so many people. She's desperately missed," said Kirchner.
Kirchner plans to file a police report Wednesday night. 10News called the person who texted about the gift card, but no one answered.
If you have any information on Lily's whereabouts, Kirchner is asking you text her a photo at 815-814-9700.