Stolen puppy ring being investigated in Florida

U.S. & World

LARGO, Florida (CNN) — In November, a French bulldog bought with a stolen credit card in Florida landed a woman in jail.

Now, officials are saying that wasn’t the only puppy as new documents show a crime ring behind similar thefts all over Florida.

“People will do a lot of things to make a quick buck,” said Det. Steve Allred of the Largo Police Department.

Big and small puppies mean big bucks for a criminal ring targeting pet stores.

“Wow, that’s, uh, kinda crazy,” said Eric Clevelle, a customer outside of All About Puppies. “I would think it’s a lot of work to do it but when you are talking about the kind of dogs that they are buying and the amount, it makes sense.”

Largo Police said one woman used stolen credit card numbers to buy an expensive — $4,000 — English bulldog. The puppy is still missing.

This was the second time All About Puppies in Largo was targeted.

Back in October, a person identified as Bryant Farfan was arrested for stealing a French bulldog.

Police quickly recovered the dog, but uncovered a much larger operation.

“It started out as what looked like a basic theft and kinda snowballed from there,” Allred said. “And got really big, really out of control, really fast.”

So far, police have identified two women believed to be part of the statewide ring.

People working together to commit credit card fraud by buying numbers off the dark web, then buying up big-ticket items like expensive dogs and lawn equipment to sell later.

“Do something to protect your identity, try and keep your credit locked down, stay up on your credit reports,” Allred said.

Police believe they will bust the ring sooner rather than later, and Clevelle agrees.

“They’re going to catch you, sooner or later, they’re going to catch you,” he said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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