Dogs held for ransom after running away from Silver Spring home

Scooby (Family photo/Courtesy of Gloria Chicas)
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By Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gloria Chicas got a strange call Sunday morning after two of her dogs -- Scooby and Scrappy -- ran away from her home in Silver Spring.

"Ma'am, I got your dogs. I want a reward," the man said, Chicas recalled in an interview Wednesday.

"What are you talking about?" Chicas asked.

"Money. I want money."

Over the next several hours, Chicas would call the police, learn that Scooby had been killed by a car, help officers participate in a sting to nab the alleged doggy extortionist and get Scrappy back.

The suspect, Najie Walker, 21, remained in the Montgomery County jail Wednesday. It isn't clear whether he had obtained an attorney or what his version of events was.

To arrest him, Officer Michael Rodriguez used Chicas's cellphone to call Walker, police said. Rodriguez pretended to be Chicas's nephew, willing to pay $250 for Scrappy. Walker, who identified himself as "Matt," set up a meeting at a McDonald's, ran when he saw uniforms show up and was eventually taken into custody hiding in a men's room at a nearby restaurant, police said.

In charging documents, Rodriguez wrote that he asked Walker what he would have done if Chicas had shown up at the McDonald's but refused to pay.

"She would have got her dog back. Honest to God, and I went to church today," Walker said, according to the charging documents.

Walker also told Rodriguez that he couldn't read Chicas's address on the dog's registration tag, but Rodriguez noted that Walker could read Chicas's phone number on the tag, according to the charging documents.

Walker had possession of Scooby at one point, police said, but let him go. Scooby was struck and killed near Columbia Pike and Industrial Parkway. Chicas had to identify him.

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