Group steals French Bulldog in brazen attack in Ladera Heights

[UPDATE: Bruno has been found safe. Stay with FOX 11 News for the latest on the family's reunion with the once-stolen dog.]

A Ladera Heights family is searching for their French bulldog after a group of thieves attacked the dog's owner while they were out on a walk Wednesday morning. 

Stefan Becker was out on his morning walk with his French bulldog Bruno Wednesday around 5:30 a.m. in their Lower Ladera Heights neighborhood. While walking along Wooster Avenue, Becker said a group of masked men approached them, pushed him to the ground, kicked him and grabbed Bruno.

According to Becker, there were between three and four attackers, and they all seemed to be in their 20s. They drove off in a silver Toyota Camry. 

"It's beyond devastating," Becker said.

Becker was hit in the mouth and received some bruises in the attack but is OK. The biggest scars left by the attack for him are mostly psychological.

"He was screaming and yelling. And I mean, that is that kind of yelling which stays in your brain. And you don't forget this," Becker said.

The family said that Bruno is microchipped.

As for Becker's message to the attackers: Be kind to Bruno.

"He's a nice, gentle soul," Becker said of his beloved dog. "If you find it in your heart and you realize the dog may not have much value to you, he's priceless to us."

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The French Bulldog was named by the American Kennel Club as the most popular dog breed in Los Angeles in 2022, and there has been a spate of thefts of the animals, including the high-profile case of Lady Gaga's dogs. The suspect in that case, 20-year-old James Jackson, was sentenced in December to 21 years in prison.