From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Jan. 19, 1973:
Two Kansas University students, declining to give their names for fear of retribution, said today that they were planning to contact the Kansas State University athletic director's office and make arrangements to return the wildcat they had stolen earlier this week. The two male students, armed with a can of sardines, had slipped into Manhattan's Sunset Zoo and, after picking a lock, had slipped out again with the K-State wildcat mascot -- or so they thought. Zoo director Dr. T. J. Frick was claiming that, instead of the school mascot, which was worth about $50, the students had accidentally pilfered a wildcat worth $1,500. The students, pointing to the fact that the carrying cage for the official K-State cat had been in the cage that they had entered, said that they still thought they had the right one. After questioning, Frick admitted that the more valuable cat was sometimes taken to games, depending "on which cat could be caught." Meanwhile, Ernie Barrett, athletic director for K-State, asked the Journal-World to inform the KU students involved that if the animal were returned immediately, they would be granted amnesty from any charges or repercussions. The incident marked the first time that a K-State wildcat had been stolen since 1956.