IRVINE, Calif. (Reuters) – They thought they had stolen vicious pit bulls but instead they wound up with purse-sized Chihuahuas known for their timidity.
Mehrad Sepanjasa, 19, Ariyo MacKay, 18, and Kamyar Katouzian, 24, were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly stealing the puppies from an animal shelter in this Southern California city a couple of days earlier.
The men were caught after bringing the dogs, which had ID microchips implanted under their skin, to an animal clinic in a PetSmart pet supply store for an examination and vaccinations.
Lisa Morgenthaler, the store’s director, said she recognized the puppies and the suspects from their descriptions on a flyer she received from the animal shelter.
The store manager said she sensed that the pups were victims of a severe case of mistaken identity. “They asked me, ‘What is this?'” Morgenthaler said. “I told them it looked like a Chihuahua mix. They said, ‘No way, it’s a pit bull.’ They didn’t believe me. They wanted to ask the veterinarian.”
When the men brought the puppies back to the clinic for an exam and shots two days later, Morgenthaler was prepared.
“We said we were going to take them into the back to cut their nails and take their temperatures, and we called the police,” she said. “It was pretty scary.”
During the examination, the men repeatedly asked the veterinary staff what breed the puppies were, and again insisted that they were not of the diminutive Mexican breed.
“They were pretty perturbed that the puppies they stole were not pit bulls,” Morgenthaler said. “They thought they were stealing pit bulls. These guys are idiots.”