Violent dognapping in Bell Gardens captured on video
BELL GARDENS, Calif. - Police in Bell Gardens arrested a woman who they say attacked a pet store owner on a sidewalk in broad daylight and stole a one-month-old maltipoo puppy.
The attack happened on Jan. 30. Bell Gardens police said they received a call from a business owner who captured the attack on his security cameras. According to police, the attack happened around 12:30 p.m. on the sidewalk outside the business on the 6600 block of Eastern Avenue.
On that day, Rosa Muñoz was watching her daughter's one-month-old maltipoo puppy while working at her pet store, Planet Pet. A woman, who Muñoz said had come to the store a few times before, walked in.
"The woman walks in and looks at the camera, and takes off her mask, then sighs and puts the mask back on," Muñoz said in Spanish.
Muñoz said the woman then went directly to the cage where the maltipoo was at the time.
"She opened the cage and I did not realize it. She was very close to the cage, glued to it," said Muñoz.
Muñoz walked closer to the woman, and then noticed the woman had the puppy in her arms. She told the woman she is not allowed to take animals out of their cages, and asked the woman to put the dog back into the cage. She said the woman just looked at her, and then started running.
"I tried running after her, but I fell and broke my hand," Muñoz said. "Then I got up to go outside to try to see the license plates of the car she was going to get into, but the woman was waiting for me outside of the store, looking at me."
Muñoz said she asked the woman why she wasn't running, and then tried to explain the dog's situation to the woman.
"I said ‘Give me the puppy.’ The puppy is taking medication, and the puppy is only six weeks old, and has diarrhea, and [then] she sprayed me with pepper spray and hit me," Muñoz said.
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Surveillance video showed the woman hitting Muñoz as another bystander walks by. The woman eventually took Muñoz to the ground, continued to pepper spray her, and then took off running with the puppy in hand. Muñoz said two men came to her aid and asked her if she needed help calling the police. Muñoz also called her son, Jesse Robles, once she was able to breathe and speak again.
"I came right away and sure enough, she was hurt. I was angry and now I have to sacrifice my job to come here and help her out," said Robles.
Robles is making sure his mother is not alone in the store anymore.
Muñoz has been running the pet store for 22 years, and has never had a problem in the past until now.
"All of the people that come here (to the pet store) come in all the time, and I know them and they're my clients. Now when a new person comes in, I just stand there like ‘What is going to happen?’ I don't know what to do," she said.
Muñoz will be in a cast for more than one month to heal her injuries, and had to go to the hospital for treatment for her eyes too.
"I have to talk to protect other business owners so this does not happen to them. It is not fair that we as owners get up to come to work every day, and then someone comes to hurt us," said Muñoz.
Officials from the Bell Gardens Police Department said after the assault, the suspect took the puppy and ran north on Eastern Ave, towards Loveland Street.
On Feb. 3, police announced that they had arrested a female juvenile in connection with the violent robbery. The puppy was recovered and returned to Muñoz. Police said they received multiple tips from the community which led them to the suspect.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Tamayo at 562-806-7613 or Detective Martinez at 562-806-7618.