Stolen French bulldog returned to family after being sold on Craigslist

OCEANSIDE — A 2-month-old French bulldog was reunited with its owners after allegedly being stolen and sold twice.

The owners found the lock of their home’s backyard gate on Shenandoah Drive broken, their fence pulled apart and their dog Sol missing Jan. 17. They searched Craigslist and saw the puppy, who has distinct white markings on his chest, for sale online for $1,200.

The family had bought the puppy three weeks earlier for $3,500 for their daughters, ages 7 and 10.

The owners contacted the seller, explained that the dog is a family pet and offered to pay for Sol’s return. The seller did not reply and quickly took down the online post.

“They attempted to get the dog back on their own, when they had no success they called police,” Oceanside Police Detective Sgt. John McKean said.

Oceanside Police detectives from the Property Crimes Unit found the alleged dog thief in an Escondido apartment complex. Further investigation led to the location of the puppy that had been sold twice.

The French bulldog pup was first sold to a couple in Fontana who occasionally sell French bulldogs.

McKean said they saw the dog listed at a good price and first bought the puppy to keep as a pet, but then decided to sell it.

“I think they were 100 percent unknowing victims, they did not know the dog (they bought) was stolen,” McKean said.

The French bulldog was then sold to a woman in Hemet. Police found the dog in her possession. She agreed to return the puppy to its original owners.

“She was understandability upset, but knew the right thing to do,” McKean said. “She emotionally, but gladly, gave up Sol so he could be reunited with the original family.”

The woman was later given a new French bulldog puppy by the Fontana seller. The seller was rewarded $1,000 by the original owners.

McKean said the outcome was favorable all around.

“The people in Hemet were very happy with the deal,” McKean said. “The only people who were out money were the original owners (who paid the reward).”

Police detectives delivered the found dog to its original owners.

“(Sol) is now safe and snug with his two best friends,” McKean said.

The man who allegedly stole the dog, first denied knowledge of the pup, then changed his story and finally told police he found the dog on the side of road.

Charges of possession of stolen property are pending as police detectives gather phone records and other evidence.

“We’re still putting together a timeline,” McKean said.

McKean said local dog theft is uncommon. He advises people to microchip their pets, and not keep animals in open areas where they can escape or be stolen.

He also advises people to contact police immediately if they find their stolen property for sale, and warns people to be wary of online deals.

Felony charges against the dog theft suspect are expected to be filed next month.

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