Puppy bought from Rockville store with stolen credit card

October 25, 2013

Call it another puppy caper.

For the second time in six months, Montgomery County police are investigating a case involving a puppy and a Rockville pet store called Just Puppies.

This time, a pooch worth more than $1,000 was purchased with a credit card that police said was stolen from a woman’s car while she was at church. The thieves then used the credit card to go on a shopping spree at Nordstrom, police said.

On Friday, police released videos showing the suspects — a bald man and a woman with blonde hair. One was taken inside the Just Puppies store on Veirs Mill Road. The other shows the same two people in the Nordstrom store at Westfield Montgomery mall, where police said they spent nearly $3,000 in clothes using the stolen credit card. Police were seeking to identify them Friday.

The latest puppy incident began Aug. 11, police said, when someone smashed a window of a car that belongs to a 60-year-old woman who was at noon services at St. Jane Frances de Chantal Catholic Church on Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda.


Three-month-old Yorkshire Terrier bought with stolen credit card at Just Puppies. (Montgomery County Police)

Less than two hours later, the man and woman shown in the video used a fake driver’s license and the stolen credit card to buy a three-month-old Yorkshire terrier, police said.

They spent about $1,300 at the pet store, including $1,100 for the brown-and-black puppy, police said. The two also bought about $100 worth of pet supplies, including a crate, leash, brush, collar, shampoo and bowls.

With the dog in tow, the pair hit the mall, police said.

Surveillance video shows the two in Nordstrom with the man holding the puppy.

In April, a puppy was stolen at the same pet store. A woman with a tattoo of a Cheshire cat on her neck slipped a one-pound, $1,200 Maltese into her purse and got away. Rockville police said they closed that case after the thief died.

And the Maltese?

Police said the dog was not found.

Jeanea Tobiasz, the store manager, said she didn’t realize there was any problem with the August purchase until the detectives came to the store this week. When the man and the woman bought the terrier, she said, the name on the credit card they presented matched the name on the driver’s license so it didn’t raise any suspicions.

As part of the store’s policy, they make a photocopy of a driver’s license when someone buys a dog.

“It’s unfortunate,” she said of the case. “I don’t know what their intentions were with the puppy, given that they didn’t pay with their own money.”

Dan Morse contributed to this report.

Dana Hedgpeth is the Washington Post’s lead reporter in covering the Metro rail and bus systems in the D.C. region and the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) that runs them.
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