A woman faces a felony after police say she stole a dog from a breeding business she was working at this past fall.
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Michelle Koontz, 49, was arrested late last month after police say they determined she had stolen and sold a Schnauzer puppy worth more than $2,000 from a dog breeder for whom she worked, according to an affidavit for her arrest.
At 10:30 p.m., Sept. 1, police were dispatched to the 31000 block of Weld County Road 29 just north of Greeley.
The victim — the owner of a dog breeding business — told police he had several puppies that had gone missing. He said he had been breeding dogs for 30 years and had never lost an animal. But since hiring Koontz, he had lost five puppies in six weeks.
About a week before contacting police, the business owner said he was in the hospital for a medical procedure. When he returned on Aug. 24, he told police he noticed another dog missing from his dog’s litter. The missing dogs were all Schnauzer puppies with American Kennel Club certification, according to the affidavit. Each was worth $2,000 to $3,400.
Police say the business owner spoke with Koontz prior to going to the hospital and she told him she would make sure the dogs were in the kennels. When he confronted her after returning, she told him different employees were the ones taking care of the dogs — before changing her story and saying she did put them in the kennels, but didn’t notice a dog was missing at the time, according to the affidavit.
The business owner told police he didn’t have any proof the puppies were stolen — not just missing — until Sept. 1, when a dog groomer he works with told him she and her granddaughter saw Koontz with one of the missing puppies at a Dollar Tree in the 2900 block of W. 10th Street.
The dog groomer’s granddaughter said as she was walking out of the Dollar Tree, she saw Koontz — walking with another woman — holding a tiny black puppy. She recognized the dog as one of the missing puppies, according to the affidavit.
“It had a schnauzer cut and everything,” she told police. “I have been working (at the breeding business) for like a couple months. I know what the puppies look like.”
She said Koontz’s face went pale and she just stared at her.
Police say she returned to her truck and told her grandmother what she saw. The two waited for Koontz to leave, and saw the woman walking with Koontz — later identified as Amy Brooks — coming out holding a puppy. The witnesses said Brooks was walking suspiciously and looking around like she was trying to hide something in her coat, according to the affidavit.
The two told police they followed Koontz and Brooks back to Koontz’s house and and took pictures of Koontz holding the dog. She gave police the photos, but they were unable to determine the breed of the dog from the photos.
Police say the dog groomer confronted Koontz about the dog and she said it wasn’t a Schnauzer she was carrying, but instead a black chihuahua. She later changed her story, saying it was actually a cat, according to the affidavit.
Police say Brooks contacted the dog groomer on Sept. 6, telling her she didn’t steal the puppy she was seen holding walking out of the Dollar Tree five days prior.
Police contacted her and she told them Koontz was carrying a black “Scotty” dog. She said Koontz handed her the dog and insisted she take it back to her house, which she did, according to the affidavit. She added that Koontz told her she took the puppy from her boss, and that she had already sold it.
Two days later, Brooks contacted police over the phone. They say she changed her story, now telling them Koontz did not steal any puppies, and that it was actually a cat she was carrying that night at the Dollar Tree.
When asked why she changed her story, she told police “she had been sick and her head was not right,” according to the affidavit.
Police say they again contacted Brooks to clarify her story. When asked why she told police that Koontz had stolen the dog, she said she had made a mistake.
She said she thought that Koontz only told her she had stolen the dog because she was trying to cover for a friend who was living with Koontz at the time, according to the affidavit. She added that Koontz did know the puppy was stolen, and that she thought Koontz was trying to set her up to be blamed.
On Jan 28, Koontz contacted police — after they had been trying weekly to contact her for the past six months. Police say she told them she no longer worked for the business and during the time she was employed, she knew of five puppies going missing, but insisted she did not have the owner’s dog and never did.
She told police they could watch security camera footage of her house to prove the stolen dog wasn’t there, but later contacted police again to tell them the footage no longer existed, according to the affidavit.
When asked about the night at the Dollar Tree, she said she was holding a German Shepherd puppy and wasn’t sure how the witnesses could have mixed up the two breeds.
She added that the German Shepherd puppy was now four months old and had grown much bigger, according to the affidavit. At that point, it had been six months since the incident at the Dollar Tree, making it impossible that she could have been carrying the German Shepherd back in September, police say.
Later that evening, police again contacted Koontz at her house, and she again mentioned the German Shepherd was four months old.
Police arrested her and took her into custody. On the way to Weld County Jail, she again changed her story and told police the dog she was holding at the Dollar Tree was named Lucky.
She has a hearing on advisement March 25 at Weld District Court.