Updated at 11:30 a.m. ET
For hours, its life was like a highlight reel of daring stunts and escapes – but now, a raccoon that mesmerized people by climbing a tall building in St. Paul, Minn., has been trapped and is safe.
"In our office we are just glad he is safe. We were all worried about him," says Sheila Donnelly-Coyne, an attorney whose firm, Paige Donnelly, is on the 23rd floor of the UBS building.
The raccoon was spotted more than 20 stories above street level, in a downtown escapade that our colleagues at Minnesota Public Radio tracked closely — it was, after all, just across the street from them, giving them front-row seats as the animal avoided death and capture with equal aplomb.
Dubbed the #mprraccoon on Twitter, the raccoon drew thousands of breathless observers as it scampered, scaled and explored its unlikely high-rise habitat. Its occasional naps were followed closely, analyzed for clues about its mental state, hopes and dreams.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter spun its adventure as a positive for the city's tourism industry — proof that even a raccoon knew Minnesota's capital "is a great place to reach for higher heights."
Meanwhile, tensions were reaching such great heights of their own that a local Good Samaritan roughly two dozen stories below the raccoon even — rather ambitiously — offered to catch the little one.
Happily, no such extreme measures were necessary.
Folks with the UBS Plaza announced Wednesday morning that the raccoon had reached the roof overnight, grabbed a snack of soft cat food and found itself trapped in one of the cages laid out for it there.
"A staffer at the private firm said they were still arranging for a live release," Vezner notes. "She added that the firm's technicians live in the rural areas of Rogers and Zimmerman, Minn., beyond the northwest Twin Cities exurbs, and they would typically release it there."
So, what inspired its Alex Honnold-like heroics? Probably something pretty mundane.
Before it became an online sensation, the #mprraccoon was likely looking for food in a lower skyway, Tim Nelson of MPR News reported. He said the animal had been stranded on the building for at least two days.
At any rate, it's now safe. Celebrate the feat with this little supercut of the raccoon's great upward scamper, courtesy of Alicia Lewis of local NBC affiliate KARE.