Fannie, a little Poodle mix stolen last month by two women posing as LAPD Animal Cruelty Task Force (ACTF) officers, was reunited today with her dog dad, Caesar Aguilar. One of the dognappers was arrested and is facing three felony counts.
The women, wearing green uniforms, showed up on Aguilar’s doorstep in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles April 14. They told him they were with ACTF and had received multiple complaints that Fannie was being neglected. The women handed Aguilar an official ACTF flyer, and demanded to confiscate Fannie so she could be examined for signs of neglect or abuse.
Aguilar did as they asked, and they drove off with his dog. When he called the phone number on the flyer, the ACTF answered, but told him the department had no record of complaints about Fannie or knowledge of the confiscation.
Lt. Ryan Rabbett of the LAPD Rampart Division told KTLA today that news reports and social media helped lead to the arrest of Jenny Smiles, one of the suspects.
“A citizen said she’d overheard the suspects bragging about how they’d posed as officers and retrieved this dog from a location in Echo Park,” Rabbett said.
Smiles has been charged with extortion, theft by trickery and impersonating an officer. The other woman remains at large, Rabbett told KTLA. Police are concerned that the women may have stolen other dogs as well.
Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD’s Rampart Area Burglary Detectives at 213-484-3400 or 877-527-3247. To leave an anonymous tip, call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
No matter where you live, if someone comes to your door claiming to be an officer, the LAPD advises that you ask for identification, and examine it closely to see if it is official. If you’re still suspicious, ask for additional proof. And if you suspect someone is impersonating an officer, call 911 immediately.