Suspect sought in puppy theft and attempted carjacking
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The San Jose Police Department released new images Friday in hopes of catching a man police say attempted to carjack a couple and stole a 9-week-old puppy they were selling.
The armed robbery and attempted carjacking happened October 8 in the parking lot behind the Taco Bell restaurant on the 700 block of Story Road, not far from Kelley Park.
It all began when a San Jose married couple posted an ad to sell the female Pomeranian puppy for $700 on eBay’s classifieds website. They agreed to meet one interested buyer who they described as well-spoken and persistent.
“Every time I think about it, it just gives me chest pains because it hurts to know there are people that can be so friendly one minute and a complete monster the next,” said the dog’s co-owner.
Her husband says they first met the man at a well-lit Chevron around 8:30 p.m. that evening and had planned to meet him earlier in the evening but the potential buyer kept calling saying he was running late. After initially meeting at the gas station, the man told the couple he was interested in buying the puppy but needed to get cash. That’s when he proposed calling them after he got the money and suggested meeting in the Taco Bell parking lot later in the evening.
The husband then described what happened when they met up with the man for the second time that evening.
“He’s really petting the dog. And then out of nowhere he starts to zip the dog up in his coat and pulls out a gun and says ‘Get out of the car. Everyone get out of the car.'”
The couple was able to drive off without being injured.
Police identify the robber as 38-year-old Juan Carlos Chavez of Milpitas and believe his neck tattoo, which appears to say “Mexicano,” could be a key in catching him.
While selling pets is not allowed on eBay’s main website, the practice is allowed and common on eBay’s classifieds website.
Dog owners at a San Jose dog park Friday night called the incident unfortunate.
“I am a little bit leery about using eBay because you don’t know what situations you’re going to run into,” said dog owner Janice Basu of San Jose.
One dog owner told KTVU she paid $1,000 for her dog and another dog owner says canines can mean big cash.
“We get so many signs up for stolen dogs for breeds and then they go to Craigslist and sell them,” said dog owner Jeanie Shipley, “So this is just one more thing.”
San Jose-based eBay says the company wasn’t aware of the case until KTVU contacted them Friday night.
“The safety and security of our customers is a top priority for eBay and we work hard to create a safe and enjoyable marketplace for everyone,” a company spokeswoman said in a statement released to KTVU.
The company says it will work closely with law enforcement on their investigation.
The victimized couple advises other online sellers to be wary of blocked phone numbers, meeting in dark areas and at night.
The two say they never planned to meet an interested buyer under those circumstances but add he was persistent and appeared to be trustworthy.
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