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Unusual armed theft of dog leaves unanswered questions

Across the country, about two million animals are stolen each year. Recently, reported that two young men in Michigan face criminal charges for armed robbery after they allegedly stole a dog at gunpoint. Claims by police in the alleged Lansing-area dog theft stand out from common patterns that are usually reported in pet theft. News reports on the incident suggest the story may involve more than what the police have publicly disclosed.

At the beginning of November, an apartment resident reported having a dog stolen at gunpoint. Reports do not specify if the alleged victim knew the presumed culprits. However, police quickly identified the 19-year-old and 21-year-old suspects and had them in custody. They each face charges of armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

This does not fit with general cases of dog theft when comparing the methods described with the methods and motives for most thefts. According to, a website devoted to pet adoption, thieves most often steal dogs to resell them, give them as pets, sell them to labs for testing or to use them as bait to train killer dogs for fighting. Such thieves usually steal unprotected dogs from backyards, and try to leave questions over whether a dog may just be missing. That means victims often wait longer to call the police.

The truth of any criminal charges begins with the alleged victim's account of the incident. The details in this case leave many unanswered questions. An investigation into how well the victim knew the accused and why the dog was allegedly taken could reveal that there is more to this case than the uncommon allegation of armed theft of a dog.

Sources:, "Okemos man, Lansing teen face multiple charges in connection with dog stolen from apartment at gunpoint," Brandon Howell, Nov. 2, 2011, "Prevent Pet Theft"

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