A dozen dogs worth more than $100,000 were stolen from a pet shop in Gardena on Tuesday during a heist caught on camera.
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Security camera footage showed four masked men break into Top Dog Pet Store on Rosecrans Avenue at 1:13 a.m. After breaking the front door lock, the men are shown rolling out cages filled with dogs and securing them in the back of a white Chevy van. One of the men was captured on video grabbing puppies and throwing them into the van.
“It was a shock waking up to that call,” store co-owner Andres Avalos said. “We got that call from the alarm company about 1:16, 1:17 [a.m.], and we woke up to a shocking call.”
The Gardena Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Avalos said 12 purebred French bulldogs, including a 10-month-old show dog named Roll X, were stolen.
The pet store owners are licensed breeders and well known in the Gardena dog community, he said. They opened Top Dog Pet Store about six months ago, where they breed dogs and sell a range of pet items including leashes, bowls, cages, and pet supplements.
Avalos suspects the group of men had been to the store before based on the video.
“The way they were just getting around the store in general, they had to have been there to purchase something or look around because we’re new to the area,” he said. “We get a lot of new customers.”
Avalos said he and the other store owner typically bring the dogs home with them after closing shop. But on Monday evening, they left the dogs in the store.
“It was just one of them nights,” he said. “We were tired and we had a lot going on that day. We were like, ‘We’ll take them home tomorrow.’ That tomorrow never came.”
One thief also broke into the store’s cash register and stole about $2,000 in cash, Avalos said.
“It’s hard [financially] especially with the holidays being around the corner, but it’s a burden on the family and that’s how we make our living,” he said. “It’s a tough loss for us.”
Community members are flooding social media hoping to aid in the search for the dogs, reposting video of the heist and information on whom to contact with the whereabouts of the dogs.
Top Dog Pet Store is offering a reward of an undisclosed amount for anyone who can help find the dogs, Avalos said.