Valuable pooches back home in Glendale after dognapping thwarted

Dec 29, 2021, 12:01 PM | Updated: 12:40 pm

From left, Lala, an English bulldog, and Paris, a French bulldog. (Photo via Glendale Police Department) April Wilder (Photo via Glendale Police Department) Barry Grier (Photo via Glendale Police Department) Charles Austin II (Photo via Glendale Police Department)

PHOENIX – Two valuable pets are safely back home in Glendale after a botched theft earlier this month landed three suspects in the doghouse with police.

Lala, an English bulldog, and Paris, a French bulldog, were reported missing from their backyard near 67th Avenue and Greenway Road on Dec. 17, the Glendale Police Department said in a press release Wednesday.

Neighbors told the dogs’ owners they saw three people pick up the pets and drive off with them, police said. The two coveted breeds generally sell for thousands of dollars.

Two days later, April Wilder allegedly brought Lala to the home after 8 p.m. and requested a reward from one of the owners, but the man was suspicious and confronted her about stealing the dogs, police said.

Wilder, who still had the English bulldog, got into a vehicle driven by another woman, and they took off, police said. The man followed the suspect vehicle while calling police.

Officers used the caller’s information to locate the vehicle and stop it, leading to Wilder’s arrest.

The driver, who was not identified, told police that Paris was being kept by two men, including Wilder’s boyfriend, at Cave Creek Park near 24th Avenue and Thunderbird Road in Phoenix, according to court documents.

Police found the boyfriend, Barry Grier, and Charles Austin II at the park walking the French bulldog around 10:15 p.m. and took the men into custody.

Wilder was booked on counts of theft and fraud. Grier, who police said had a gun when arrested, was booked for theft and prohibited weapons possession. Austin, who police said was in possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia, was booked on theft and drug counts.

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Valuable pooches back home in Glendale after dognapping thwarted