Dognapping arrest: Man arrested for allegedly stealing two French bulldogs from pregnant woman at gunpoint in Studio City, LAPD says

STUDIO CITY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A 27-year-old Las Vegas man has been arrested for allegedly holding a pregnant woman at gunpoint and stealing their two French bulldogs in Studio City, police said.

The Los Angeles Police Department said Monday it was able to track suspect Sammeiso Lewis after he tried to blackmail the victim using a phone belonging to a man he met on a dating website.

“A witness from the website recalled overhearing Lewis discuss the dogs during a conversation and was able to provide Lewis’s physical description and dating application,” the LAPD said in a statement.

Using the information provided, detectives executed multiple search warrants and identified Lewis, police said. He was arrested on January 26 and pleaded not guilty to the robbery.

RELATED: A pregnant woman’s two dogs returned after an armed robbery in Studio City

The dognapping happened on the morning of December 9 when Cindy Nelson, who was nine months pregnant at the time, was walking her dogs at the 4100 block of Kraft Avenue.

A man got out of a parked car, Nelson said, pointed a gun at her and demanded that she give him her two French bulldogs.

Investigators say the man who took the dogs gave them to a stranger on the street, who then contacted the Nelson family. The Nelsons and their French bulldogs were soon reunited.

But police say before Lewis handed over the dog, he called the owners and asked for a $1,000 ransom.

“Ultimately, citizens connected to this extortion attempt led to the identity of the suspect in this case,” said LAPD detective Noah Stone.

Detectives with the LAPD’s North Hollywood Division shared a number of safety tips for pet owners, including:

– Stay visible in high-light public environments while walking your dog.

— use dog chips with GPS for your dogs;

— do not leave dogs unattended in public;

– Install security cameras around your home to monitor your pets and intruders; And

– Keep recent photos of your dog.

Because of their value, French bulldogs have become a common target for thieves. In 2021, a man who was walking Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs was shot dead by gunmen who made off with two of the animals, which were later recovered.

The City News Service contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. Dognapping arrest: Man arrested for allegedly stealing two French bulldogs from pregnant woman at gunpoint in Studio City, LAPD says

Laura Coffey

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