From the moment news broke that two people had fraudulently bought a $1,100 Yorkshire terrier puppy in August, a big question was why.
Did the thieves want a pet? Or did they want to resell it?
It looks like the former, based on Montgomery County arrest records in the case, which had a happy ending Tuesday afternoon: the safe return of the puppy, Isabella.
As the records spell out, the suspects used a stolen credit card and fake driver’s license not only to buy Isabella, but also to pick up Four Paws Wee-Wee Pads, a Kong dog teething toy, some Best Buddy dog treats and more than $200 worth of other canine products.
“They made it seem like they were going to keep the dog,” said Jeanea Tobiasz, manager of Just Puppies, where Isabella was returned. The dog had an uneven haircut but otherwise looked good. “She doesn’t seem to be aggressive in any way,” Tobiasz added. “She seems to be in good weight. She seems healthy.”
It’s not been a good year, dog-theft-wise, for Just Puppies, a pet store in Rockville that, as the name would imply, sells just puppies. In April, a $1,200 Maltese was stolen from the store, allegedly by a woman with a Cheshire cat tattoo on her neck. That dog has not been found, according to police and Tobiasz.
In the case of Isabella, police identified the suspects as Michael Pulliam, 39, of Annapolis and Jennifer Camardi, 29, of an unconfirmed address, who have been charged with numerous counts related to credit card misuse. Police said that the couple smashed the rear driver’s side window of a 2009 Silver Hyundai parked outside St. Jane Frances de Chantal Catholic Church in Bethesda on Aug. 11. They took several items, including a purse, credit cards, a driver’s license and silver rosary beads valued at $100, according to the police. A short time later, they walked into Just Puppies on Veirs Mill Road, which is about five miles away, police said.
As detectives would later speculate, the suspects may have used a mobile fake ID maker to create a new driver’s license with a different date of birth and different photograph, according to arrest records. Using a stolen credit card and the new license, they purchased the puppy and the puppy supplies, police said.
Then, according to detectives, the suspects hit Nordstrom at Westfield Montgomery Mall and used a stolen credit card to purchase more than $1,400 worth of clothing and other items. Video surveillance showed Pulliam holding Isabella as they shopped.
Police arrested Pulliam several days ago. Camardi also was charged and on Tuesday returned the puppy to police.
An officer then took the dog back to Just Puppies. Tobiasz said the store will take her to the veterinarian for a checkup, get her back on her vaccination schedule and find her a good owner.