A Las Vegas man was arrested for allegedly stealing a pregnant Los Angeles woman’s two French bulldogs at gunpoint and attempting to extort her with the phone of a man he met on a dating website.
Sammeiso Lewis, 27, was arrested Jan. 26 and charged with robbery in the cockamamie canine caper, which happened Dec. 9 in Studio City, the LA Daily News reported.
Cindy Nelson, who was nine months pregnant at the time, was walking her seven and nine-year-old dogs on Kraft Avenue around 10 a.m. when Lewis allegedly kidnapped them at gunpoint.
“Our victim was terrified for her life and begged the suspect not to hurt her,” said Ahmed Mohammadi, the LAPD commanding officer for North Hollywood, according to the newspaper.
“She handed the two leashes over to the suspect,” he said.
Police said Lewis later tried to extort Nelson by calling him on the phone of a man he met on a dating website and demanding $1,000 for the safe return of the dogs.
However, the other man reportedly overheard the conversation and informed police about the suspect and the dating app where they met.
Meanwhile, when the alleged dognapper did not receive his ransom, he gave the bulldogs to a woman he did not know and who was not involved in the crime, according to Detective Noah Stone.
She then called the victim using the number on the dog tags and returned the animals to her.
Witnesses also captured the robbery on cellphone video provided to police with a description of the suspect’s vehicle, NBC Los Angeles reported.
Police tracked Lewis to Glendale, where he was arrested in a stolen vehicle, police said.
The suspect has a criminal history in several states, mostly related to identity theft, and had three outstanding felony warrants, cops added.
He was being held on $180,000 bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Chinatown, according to KTLA.
Due to their high value, French bulldogs have become a popular target for dognappers.
A group of men who shot Lady Gaga’s dog walker stole her French bulldogs in 2021. The dogs were later found.
The crime was committed by three men and two accomplices, including the gunman, who was sentenced to 21 years in prison.