A Las Vegas man has been arrested for allegedly stealing a pregnant LA woman’s two French bulldogs at gunpoint and trying to extort her using a phone of a man he met on a dating website.
Sammeiso Lewis, 27, was arrested Jan. 26 and charged with robbery in the cockamamie canine caper, which happened Dec. 9 in Studio City, the LA Daily News reported.
Cindy Nelson, who was nine months pregnant, was walking her 7- and 9-year-old pooches on Kraft Avenue about 10 a.m. when Lewis allegedly stole them at gunpoint.
“Our victim was in fear for her life and begged the suspect not to hurt her,” said Ahmed Mohammadi, LAPD commanding officer for North Hollywood, according to the paper.
“She handed the two leashes over to the suspect,” he said.
Lewis later tried to extort Nelson by using a phone of a man he met on a dating website and demanding $1,000 for the safe return of the dogs, police said.
But the other man reportedly overheard the conversation and alerted police about the suspect and the dating app where they hooked up.
Meanwhile, when the alleged dognapper didn’t receive his ransom, he handed the bulldogs to a woman whom he didn’t know and who was not involved in the crime, Detective Noah Stone said.
She then called the victim using the number on the dog tags and returned the animals to her.
Witnesses also captured the robbery on cellphone video provided to police with a description of the suspect’s vehicle, NBC Los Angeles reported.
Police tracked Lewis to Glendale, where he was arrested in a stolen vehicle, police said.
The suspect has a criminal history in several states, mostly related to identity theft, and had three outstanding felony warrants, cops added.
He was being held on $180,000 bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Chinatown, according to KTLA.
French bulldogs have become a common target of dognappers due to their value.
In 2021, Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs were stolen by a group of men who shot her dog walker. The dogs were later recovered.
Three men and two accomplices were involved in the crime, including the gunman, who was sentenced to 21 years behind bars.