$1,500 reward for lost puppy leads to armed robbery

UPDATE 4/16/10 3:00 PM: Suspect arrested in pit bull puppy reward money robbery

Original report:
A desperate search for a lost puppy turned extraordinarily dangerous Wednesday when the dog’s E. Union owner was robbed of more than $800 in reward money by a man armed with a pistol. The man claimed he knew where the 15-week-old blue-nose pit bull puppy was and tricked the owner into driving to south Seattle where the man took the money and disappeared.

Amelia C. says her boyfriend’s decision to let a man with a gun in his pants waistband into his car was rash, unwise — and done out of pure, desperate love. We’re leaving out the couple’s last names even though they’re on posters up and down E. Union. Given what CHS has learned about the rest of the story, it would be a good idea to pull those posters down.

“We didn’t care about the money. We just want our dog back. It was just pure emotion,” Amelia told CHS today as she and her boyfriend continue the search for their new puppy, Honey.

Amelia told CHS that on Tuesday around 7 PM, Honey managed to find her way out of the backyard under a fence and into the street near 20th and E. Union while Amelia and her roommates were inside their residence. A witness told Amelia that somebody driving a white Lexus had stopped, picked Honey up and drove off.

After her boyfriend’s ordeal, Amelia desperately wants to know who actually has Honey. If you have information, please send [email protected] a note or call/text (206) 399-5959 and we’ll immediately pass your contact info to her. Despite already having been robbed of the $800, the couple is again offering a sizable reward for her return.

The details of the robbery are extremely convoluted. From the Seattle Police Department report on the incident, the situation played out like this. Amelia and her boyfriend Brandon were putting up posters with their names and phone numbers offering a $1,500 reward for Honey’s return. As they were hanging the posters on Wednesday near 23rd and Union, a man approached them and told them he had bought the puppy last night for $50 from a man in a Lexus. The man said he needed a ride to where the dog was so they could complete the handover and give him the reward. Amelia and Brandon decided to call the cops to “mediate” the situation but when they arrived, the man said the puppy was not there but that he’d take Brandon to where Honey was being kept. According to the SPD report, Brandon agreed to drive the man to where the puppy was — against the officers’ advice who were concerned the man “was going take advantage of them and take their reward money.”

The report says that Brandon was directed to drive to an address near 21st and Marion. The man got out of the car and returned with a pistol visible in the waistband of his pants. The man said he needed the gun for protection because “people didn’t like him” in the place where Honey was, Amelia said Brandon told her. The SPD report says the man then directed Brandon toward south Seattle. Amelia told CHS she attempted to follow them in her own car but couldn’t keep up with all the turns and the speed at which Brandon drove.

Brandon told police that during the drive to south Seattle, the man reached into Brandon’s pocket and attempted to grab the reward cash. According to the report, Brandon struggled but stopped when the man said he would kill Amelia if the cash wasn’t handed over. Amelia said Brandon gave up $800 of the reward money but was able to keep the man from stealing the other half. He was also texting her throughout the incident as he drove deeper into south Seattle. At that point, Amelia decided it was time to again call the police.

Honey in happier times

The SPD report says the man then directed Brandon to stop the vehicle near 39 Ave S and S Brandon where the man got out of the car and said he’d be back in five minutes with the dog. Brandon waited for a half hour but the man never returned. He then drove around the area looking for Honey until Amelia convinced him to stop the search and meet with police.

The SPD report describes the suspect as a black male, approximately 5′ 4″ 160 pounds, wearing a white beanie, a white v-neck t-shirt and blue jeans. Brandon also said the man had crooked teeth and a tattoo that, according to the police report, could have been an insignia for an area gang, Black Gangster Disciples.

Meanwhile, the police have advised the couple to stay away from E. Union so both are staying with family on the Eastside. “The police advised us not to stay there. It’s very scary,” Amelia said.

Amelia said that she and Brandon are still prepared to pay the $1,500 reward and that they have checked every shelter in the area.

“I don’t know what to do,” Amelia said. “There’s no way of knowing if he was just trying to make a quick buck or if he has Honey.”

0 thoughts on “$1,500 reward for lost puppy leads to armed robbery

  1. I remember seeing this story come in on Scott’s CDScanner yesterday and how fishy it sounded. I feel so bad that they were being taken advantage of, not to mention driven out of Central District. :-(

  2. i thought the scanner thing yesterday said the cops thought it was “hanky” and were already involved?

    it was hanky all right.

  3. On the bright side, they couple can save they’re money can get a breed that doesn’t maim and kill people.

  4. The owners should also contact the UW and other local hospitals/labs which use animals for experiments.

    I have heard that puppies and kittens are bought for $300-$500 each for lab experiments. There are people who drive around all day looking for animals to pick up which they can sell for a quick buck.


  5. Don’t use the story of a lost puppy to push your ridiculous black helicopter theories. Idiot.

  6. I’m sorry, but are these folks unaware that they are living in a high crime area in a big city? Why would you advertise in a drug corridor that you have cash to give away, meet with random strangers and let them get in your car armed? Especially after the police warned you it was likely a scam. Use some common sense, people!

  7. “I don’t know what to do,” Amelia said. “There’s no way of knowing if he was just trying to make a quick buck or if he has Honey.”

    He doesn’t have the dog! He was trying to rob you and succeeded. Be lucky you escaped with your lives after letting an armed robber in your car.

  8. As a dog lover I would have a hard time with a situation like that. On one hand you desperately want your pooch back, on the other hand there are a lot of scammers with guns. Try doing business in a coffee joint next time. The thing that is so heart breaking is the folks who stole her probably wont spay or vaccinate and will probably want pups from her for god only knows what (makes me sick to think about it). I hope you find her.

  9. While it’s very terrible to not be able to trust people and the loss of a dog is also sad, this is painful to read. Ignoring police advice, openly carrying large amounts of cash and allowing an armed stranger into your car with no knowledge of what your destination is sounds like a recipe for horrible disaster. I don’t understand how the outcome was not glaringly obvious.

  10. I was pretty shocked at reading this after reading the original post on SeattleCrime App which mentioned the call to police after the initial approach. If I understand correctly the police actually met this man and can help identify him which should be a open and shut case of armed robbery – a nice class B Felony. Not sure why he was not arrested on the spot since he was stating he had possession of stolen property.

    For those people who can see the obvious things wrong here I will state them (we will forget the strong emotional feeling that created the situation).

    1. As soon as you see a gun, the exchange should be over with.
    2. As soon as you are attempting to be robbed, the situation should be ended – stop driving to any place but a police station. If he is going to shoot you, at least head closer to some type of help.
    3. He said “he needed the gun for protection because “people didn’t like him” in the place where Honey was”. Do not go where someone needs a gun to protect themselves if you yourself are not armed – actually skip putting yourself in danger even if you are armed.

    If you actually get a call from someone who has your puppy at least get them to send you a picture of the dog in a MMS or email. If they say they are not able to do that (for $1500 reward) then they do not have your dog. I personally would have them come to my house at an arranged time and would have a police officer there as well. If they have the puppy – great. The police can make the determination if charges should be pressed for theft and/or possession of stolen property after interviewing the person(s). If not they can make an arrest of another attempted robbery suspect.

  11. The flyers are still posted in other areas besides Union. While I feel horrible for the loss of such a cute little puppy, Geez. Really. They advertised they had money, they gave their phone number and their actual address? No wonder they got ripped.

    Seriously. The police, people who are used to seeing the worst in people, told them it was a set-up from the get-go, but they went ahead with it anyway. “Brandon” is lucky he didn’t end up in an alley with a hole in the back of his head. Geez, he knew what the dude looked like, knew where abouts in the city he wanted to get to…he’s so incredibly lucky he didn’t get killed.

    And he’s still saying he’s willing to pay out more money?

    That’s awesome. So, if I were a criminal, I’d read this blog, know that they’re staying over on the East side, I’d know their address and that they’re not home, and I’d know they have even more money than what was ripped off already. Think kids, THINK!!!

    This is not noble or a showing of your love for your new pet, this is absolutely insane. I’m trying to be polite about it, but really kids, this isn’t a movie where girlfriend gets to play Columbo and follow her intrepid boyfriend on some gallant quest to save their kidnapped dog. Those criminals are real. The gun was probably real. The fact that they wantonly put their lives on the line even after being told repeatedly by the police that their course of action was foolhardy at best demonstrates…well, I don’t have the right to judge.

    I really hope you two find your dog, but I really hope you grow some common sense too.

  12. Not for nuthin but my dog is worth more to me than a diamond any day, now if you said child …

  13. um, if you were a criminal, would you REALLY be reading this blog??

    the Darwin awards almost got a finalist on this caper. wow. PT Barnum was right – there’s one born every minute

  14. this whole situation sounds fabricated to me. it really does border on unbelievable…

  15. eyes half open:

    Yes, criminals read too. Read CDN news a lot? All types of folks from the community read up on here, every now and then you’ll see posts that look like:

    -WuTZ AiL YOUS MF’s bE TAlKin’ MESS bOuT My’z PeePZ?

    Criminals read Craigslist, that’s why naive people get scammed. Criminals read the internet, memorize routing numbers for checking accounts, know how technology works and can easily wipe the hard drive from your laptop that they stole from your house while you were away at work or on vacation. They know how to hack your Facebook account, read your status updates and figure out that you’re away “Dancing with the ladies” and know it’s a great time to steal that really nice bike you have out of your back yard…that they cased out 2 weeks ago. They read a lot online because neighborhood blogs like this are a great way to see what neighborhoods are paying attention to what happens out in the community.

    Criminals spend a LOT of time studying, many are a lot smarter than you think, many a lot smarter than you and me put together…just not the kid in this instance, he was caught earlier today.

  16. Growing up in LA the racket was to hop the fence and grab the dog. Then return the next saying “I found him wandering around, I fed him steak because he looked hungry… is there a reward ’cause the steak cost $20”.

    This would happen on an almost quarterly basis to our family dog. My dad would roll his eyes and give the guy $20 to send him on his way.

    I think these guys need to give up on their scheme or tone it down to a misdemeanor.

  17. This is one of the greatest stories I have read on the blog. This is a microcosm of all the can happen in 1 day in the hood. Why belabour this with moral blogitudes and lecturing ad naseum.

    Celebrate this story!! It has young love, tragedy (lost dog), fate (the pup escaping), intrigue, crime, suspense (the car ride to the South End) fate again (the possible near death escape of the owner) punishment, policia, and the sulty hot summer weather of the last days (ok, that’s an exaggeration). And the juxtaposition of the big bad pitbull breed to the cute little Honey. Oh Honey, where are you???

    The only thing unresolved is the fate of puppicito. el perro – where is she? Perhaps it’s best if that is unresolved, it’s more theatrical and mysterical. Was he the gift to a young girl in the valley from the heart-struck kid just arrested? Or sold on the black market for medical experiments? or destined to become a one dog puppy mill in some broken home?

    I think Central Cinema should show Amorres Perros soon to commemorate! Viva la Honey!

    Si tu historia acabó bien, explícalo en el canal de “amores”. Si acabó mal, explícalo en “perros”.

    Hasta la vista.

  18. This comment was just posted on the CHS on the update of this story, thought I would post it here too:

    the dog
    I saw someone with that dog on the bus yesterday. Blue eyed pits are rare so I know it was Honey. Anyway the people who have her are from the south end of Seattle maybe around the Henderson area.

    Hope they find her

  19. any dog of a pit bull size, including america’s beloved golden retriever, kill and maim people. it isn’t a breed thing — it is a poorly raised dog thing.