Puppy purchased with stolen credit card, police say

Photo: Montgomery County Police

ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) - An unidentified man and woman are wanted by Montgomery County Police for allegedly using a stolen credit card to buy a Yorkshire Terrier puppy and thousands of dollars in designer clothing.

Police say on Aug. 11, the suspects broke into a woman's locked Hyundai Elantra Touring in the parking lot of St. Jane Frances de Chantal Catholic Church along Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda. The woman, who spoke with ABC7 News under a condition of anonymity, said she was attending Sunday Mass, like she has for 28 years, when the crime occurred.

“I was walking to my car and saw my rear passenger window had been smashed out and my purse was gone. I was just in a state of shock. All my money, my credit cards, my debit cards, my calendar that has my whole life in it. Everything, gone,” the 60-year-old victim told ABC7 News.

Less than two hours after stealing the woman's purse, police say the suspects obtained a fake Maryland driver's license that included the victim's information and a photograph of the female suspect. Police believe they used a machine to create the ID.

"This ID was very legitimate. You looked at it and off-hand it looked like a valid Maryland license," said Ofc. Rebecca Innocenti with the Montgomery County Police Deptartment.

Within 40 minutes of the car break-in, the two suspects allegedly used one of the stolen credit cards to buy a 3-month-old female Yorkie from Just Puppies along Veirs Mill Road in Rockville. The duo also purchased a stash of pet supplies, including a crate, collar, leash, bowls, and toys. The total charge came to $1,335.71, money the victim's credit card company will not reimburse the pet store, which has been in business since 1999.

“They were just saying ‘come on, ring us up. We got to get out of here,’ and they did, unfortunately, with the dog,” said Sarah Timm, who works at the pet store.

After being contacted by detectives, Just Puppies called a handful of local veterinarians to see if they'd come across the puppy, which did not have a microchip at the time of sale. Unfortunately, those calls were not fruitful.

"That poor dog. We don't know who she's with right now. We just hope she's okay," Timm added.

Police say the suspects then charged $3,000 at the Nordstrom store inside the Westfield Montgomery Mall. Surveillance video caught the two walking around the high-end retailer for 45 minutes. The male suspect could also be seen holding the puppy as the woman checked out.

"When we saw the puppy in his hand, we couldn't believe it. We knew for a fact it was them," Ofc. Innocenti added.

In total, police say the suspects, whose relationship is unclear, charged more than $4,000 to the victim's credit card. Damage to the victim's vehicle topped $1,000. The compromise of her identity and late mother's rosary beads, however, don't come with a price tag.

"It's very sickening because me identity isn't safe anymore. It certainly makes me question where we are in this world today when people do something like that," the victim said.

Anyone with information should call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest or indictment.