A week after announcing an arrest in the theft of two dogs from a pregnant woman in Studio City, Los Angeles police Monday offered tips for pet owners to avoid becoming a victim of animal thefts.
Police also said the suspect in the Studio City theft — Sammeiso Lewis, 27, of Las Vegas — attempted to extort money from the French bulldogs’ owner, using the phone of a man he met on a dating website. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, a witness from the website overheard Lewis talking about the dogs and was able to provide investigators with a description and his dating application.
Lewis was arrested Jan. 28 in Glendale and was subsequently charged with robbery.
He is accused of stealing the dogs around 10 a.m. Dec. 9 in the 4100 block of Kraft Avenue. Police said the dogs’ owner, who was nine months pregnant, was walking the dogs when a suspect pointed a gun at her and took the animals, fleeing in a gray SUV.
The dogs were returned the next day. Somebody gave the dogs to a woman who was walking her dogs in the Hollywood area early that morning. That woman called the number on the tags and was able to return them to their owner.
Detectives from the LAPD’s North Hollywood Division offered a series of safety tips for pet owners, including:
— stay visible in public settings with significant light while walking your dog;
— utilize dog chips with GPS for your dogs;
— don’t leave animals unattended in public;
— install security cameras around your residence to monitor your pets and intruders; and
— keep current photos of your dog.
French bulldogs have become a common target of thieves due to their value. In 2021, a man walking singer musician Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs was shot by culprits who made off with two of the animals, which were later recovered.