Las Vegas man charged in alleged theft of French bulldogs in Studio City

A Las Vegas man has been charged in connection with the theft of two French bulldogs from a woman in Studio City last December, and police said the alleged thief was tracked down after he used the phone of a person he met on a dating app to demand a ransom.

The Los Angeles Police Department announced the arrest of 27-year-old Sammeiso Lewis Monday. 

The armed robbery happened the morning of Dec. 9 in the 4100 block of Kraft Avenue just south of Ventura Boulevard and west of Tujunga Avenue.

RELATED: Two French bulldogs stolen at gunpoint from pregnant woman in Studio City

According to police, the woman, who was 9-months-pregnant at the time, was walking her two dogs when she was approached by an armed man, who took the dogs and got away in a gray SUV.

At a press conference Monday, authorities described how they were able to track Lewis down. Police said Lewis used the phone of a man he met on a dating app to call the woman and demand a $1,000 ransom. Lewis' date allegedly heard the ransom demand and called police.

Officials said that when Lewis didn't receive the ransom, he handed the dogs to a woman in Hollywood, who in turn called the phone number on the dogs' tags and returned them to their rightful owner. 

A month before this incident, a pair of French bulldogs were taken at gunpoint on the Sixth Street Bridge that connects Boyle Heights and downtown Los Angeles. The victims said they were walking the dogs when they were approached by two male suspects, one of whom was armed with a handgun. According police, a 15-year-old boy was arrested for the crime four days later and charged by the District Attorney's Office with two counts of armed robbery.

RELATED: 15-year-old arrested in connection with armed robbery of 2 French bulldogs on 6th Street Bridge

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.

City News Service contributed to this report.