Close to $80,000 worth of stolen dogs have prompted a unique manhunt in Miami.
A Miami dog breeder and dog show trainer left his home to attend a party on New Year’s Eve and came back to find that his prize French bulldog and two litters of puppies worth a combined $80,00 had been stolen from his home.
Among the missing dogs was El Che, a dog that won awards at the French Bulldog Club of America National Specialty Show in 2009 and the Westminster Kennel Club dog show the following year. The puppies stolen were between 16 and 27 days old.
Police believe that while owner Marcelo Cicuta was partying at a friend’s kennel, a thief broke into his home and shoved the $80,000 worth of stolen dogs into pillow cases. The thief were a bit picky about what they stole — or maybe couldn’t carry all the dogs — as a third litter of puppies and two older female dogs were left behind.
A police report said El Che was worth $50,000 while the litters of puppies were worth a total of $30,000.
But the $80,000 in stolen dogs isn’t worth nearly as much without their papers, police said.
“Breeders do a lot of research of pedigrees to look at ancestors and their traits,” American Kennel Club spokeswoman Lisa Peterson said on Friday. “These criminals figure they’ll steal these dogs, sell them below market value, and make a quick buck.”
Police added that the burglar must have known about the champion dog and the expensive litters.
“What’s distinct about this case is someone may have known he had a champion show dog,” said Officer Kenia Reyes, a police spokeswoman.
A different stolen dog story from last year came with a happy ending. Jen Koczan had her 8-year-old dog Sasha stolen five years ago and had lost hope when an animal welfare investigator was able to track a computer chip the animal had. The dog was at the Anti-Cruelty Society in Phoenix,
The shelter was set to euthanize Sasha, but luckily Koczan got help from the Kindred Hearts Transportation Connection and her long-lost dog was returned.
Police have not said if they have any leads on the $80,000 in stolen dogs or who may have pulled off the heist.