A string of 13 robberies in Surrey, B.C. last weekend had RCMP chasing their tails, both figuratively and literally. No case was more puzzling than the armed dog-napping of three Yorkshire Terrier puppies from a home in the Guildford area of the city.
Police say early Saturday two men and a woman went to a house on 107A Avenue where a litter of puppies was being advertised for sale at $625 each. One of the three pulled out a handgun, they forced their way in and made off with three puppies from the stunned owner, who has not been identified. “Definitely when we’re seeing home invasions with guns, we don’t expect to see them taking dogs,” says RCMP Sgt. Roger Morrow.
The motive was further confused when investigating officers linked the robbery with a shooting and an attempted home invasion that happened 90 minutes earlier in a nearby Surrey neighbourhood. In that case, a middle-aged woman was confronted at her door just after 4 a.m. A man tried unsuccessfully to kick his way in. “Mommy answers and that is where she’s shot, as they’re yelling out her son’s name,” says Morrow. “Then they take off.” A couple of shots were fired, one slightly wounded the woman, although police believe she was not the intended target.
The link between the shooting and the dog-napping remains elusive. “It would be mere speculation, but two possibilities perhaps would be that they saw the ad in the paper and for whatever reason they took this method of getting some dogs. Or it was another home invasion that went awry, and it [the dog theft] was an opportunity,” says Morrow. “The home invasions we typically see here in Surrey are 95-per-cent drug related and the rest of the time they’ve got the wrong house.”
Leads from the two incidents let the RCMP strike force to put another Surrey residence under surveillance. “This resulted in the arrest of a 26-year-old male and his 19-year-old accomplice,” RCMP said in a news release. “The puppies were recovered and are in good health. A handgun believed to have been used in both crimes was also seized.” The couple was charged with robbery with a firearm and wearing a disguise while committing a crime. The man was also charged with aggravated assault. A second male has not been caught.
Morrow, a miniature Schnauzer man himself, forwarded Maclean’s a photo of one of abducted puppies, looking remarkably unscathed. “Isn’t he cute,” he asked. It’s not clear if the puppies are still for sale, but potential buyers would be well advised to arrive armed only with cash.