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Suspect Arrested After Recovery of Stolen Van Carrying Show Dogs

After a van carrying 14 show dogs was hijacked from outside of a fast food restaurant in June, one of the two men who is being accused of the theft has been arrested and he is facing several charges for the allegations.

Tony Carter was driving a Dodge cargo van on June 6, holding 14 show dogs from Washington that he was taking to Vallejo for a competition. Carter, who also served as the dogs’ trainer, had the canines crated in the van for the trip.

When Carter took a short break to grab food from an In-n-Out off of a freeway exit in Redding, he left the vehicle on so that he could continue to keep the inside cool with the air conditioning. He left the van unlocked and ran inside for his lunch and when he exited the restaurant about four minutes later, he found that the van holding the dogs was no longer where he left it.

After authorities and the dog owners were alerted about what had taken place several of the people who were informed that their dogs were inside the stolen van became worried and decided to drive to the area and attempt to locate them.

Late the next morning someone issued an anonymous tip to the police about the whereabouts of the missing van with the dogs.

After following the tip the van was discovered parked and abandoned on a remote, unpaved road and the dogs were still inside. The vehicle doors were locked, but the police could hear dogs barking and busted one of the windows so that they could get inside.

The dogs, who were all found alive, were taken to the local Humane Society to check their well-being, and they were reported as healthy, hungry, and thirsty. The dog owners were relieved to have their pets back and in good condition.

The van was confiscated by the authorities for fingerprinting, and they reviewed the surveillance video captured at the In-n-Out where the incident had taken place.

41-year-old Benjamin David Larson, and 28-year-old Billie Jo Patterson, two men from Redding, were believed to be the people who the police suspect took the van.

Larson was found and arrested on Thursday and taken to the Shasta County Jail where he is facing charges of 14 counts of animal cruelty, one count of vehicle theft, and one count of stolen property for the allegations.

Patterson has not been located yet but a warrant for his arrest has been issued.

If you or someone you love is suspected of a theft crime, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.

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