NC man stole French bulldog puppies from PA breeder: jury

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A 23-year-old man from Greensboro, North Carolina was found guilty in federal court in Pennsylvania on Thursday, March 31, 2022, of armed robbery. Prosecutors said he stole five French bulldog puppies worth $23,500 from a breeder.

Screenshot of court documents

Just before noon on a fall day in Pennsylvania, police were called to investigate the robbery of five French Bulldog puppies from a breeder’s home. Law enforcement said the purchase price for the dogs was $23,500.

Today, nearly 18 months later, a 23-year-old man from North Carolina was convicted.

A federal jury found Christopher Lamont Stimpson Jr. guilty of aiding and abetting theft and interstate transportation of stolen property after a four-day trial in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. A second person accused of helping him was acquitted.

Stimpson is from Greensboro, about 90 miles northeast of Charlotte.

“An armed robbery is an armed robbery, whether the objective is drugs, dollars or dogs,” said Jacqueline Maguire, special agent in charge of the Philadelphia division of the FBI, in a press release. hurry. “Christopher Stimpson has come a long way to terrorize the breeder and his family and take these puppies by force.”

A defense attorney representing Stimpson did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ April 1 request for comment.

Stimpson is charged with committing the robbery on October 29, 2020, when prosecutors said he and a friend traveled to West Cocalico Township in Stevens, Pennsylvania to meet Benuel Stoltzfus, the owner of Mountain Top Kennels . Stoltzfus breeds and sells French bulldogs online as a side business, according to court documents.

Stimpson and Stoltzfus spoke on the phone before the sale, investigators said, and the couple agreed on a purchase price of $23,500.

Stoltzfus allegedly asked Stimpson and his friend to pick him up from work and bring him home, where he carried the puppies out of their kennel into a white laundry basket, the government said. According to court documents, Stimpson took pictures and agreed to buy the dogs, which his friend then put in their truck while Stimpson paid Stoltzfus.

While Stoltzfus was counting the bills, Stimpson suddenly “picked up all the money off the kitchen table and ran for the door,” investigators said.

The government said a struggle ensued and Stimpson pulled out a black handgun, pointed it at Stoltzfus and demanded that he and his wife put all the money in a plastic ice cream container. They complied and Stimpson was accused of fleeing with the dogs and the money. Stoltzfus’ daughter managed to copy the truck’s license plate before they left, the government said.

Police traced the car to a rental agency in North Carolina and determined it was leased to Stimpson’s brother, according to court documents.

Days later, a customer who wanted to purchase one of the puppies found an Instagram post showing photos of the dogs with Stimpson, prosecutors said.

Stimpson was arrested on December 8, 2020. According to documents filed by his defense attorney, he told officers who interviewed him that he spoke with Stoltzfus on the phone to arrange the deal, but thought he that it was “weird” that the rancher asked to be picked up at work.

He said Stoltzfus “started acting weirder” when they entered the house and spoke in a different language from his wife.

“Mr. Stimpson then panicked and attempted to flee the residence,” his attorney said.

Stimpson, however, denied having a gun and told investigators he did not steal Stoltzfus.

Police were able to round up the puppies from Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh and they were returned to the breeder on Dec. 11, 2020, her lawyer said.

Stimpson was released on $50,000 bond, according to court documents.

He was returned to the custody of the U.S. Marshal after the verdict was announced and he is expected to be sentenced on July 14.

Hayley Fowler is a reporter for The Charlotte Observer, covering breaking news and real-time news across North and South Carolina. She holds a journalism degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and previously worked as a legal reporter in New York City before joining the Observer in 2019.

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