Police: Case of Stolen Dog Results in Child Abuse Charges
OREM, Utah – A Utah family is thanking police for quickly getting their stolen dog back after it was posted for sale online, resulting in a neighbor being charged with various crimes—including child abuse.
“Somebody broke in and took my dog,” said Sandy Mendez of Orem.
Mendez called Orem police on July 4, when she discovered her 1-year-old German Shepherd-mix named Nala, missing from her apartment and the lock on her door damaged.
Police arrived and encouraged Mendez and her son to check online classifieds to see if they recognized their dog in any of the recent listings. The discovered that someone had posted Nala for sale on KSL.com just 36 minutes earlier.
“We saw Nala on KSL,” Mendez said. “She’s on KSL for sale for fifty bucks. I go, ‘You cannot do that. I don’t believe it.’”
Officers texted the number associated with the classified ad to inquire about the dog. The woman who posted the ad, who turned out to be a neighbor living in the same apartment complex, then “met with officers who posed as potential buyers for the dog in order to sell the dog for $50.00 cash,” police wrote in jail booking documents.
“Sure enough, when she comes walking out of the apartment, there’s the little dog on a leash,” Lt. Craig Martinez with the Orem Police Department told KSL. “So we take the dog, give it back to the owners. We interview the suspect and end up booking her in jail.”
According to the officers, the woman told them “she was selling the dog because she has no money,” according to the jail documents.
“Cases like this don’t happen that often where you recover someone’s property literally while you’re still at the home,” Lt. Martinez said. “So it worked out good for everybody.”
The case didn’t end there, Martinez explained. When officers went to the suspect’s apartment they found children and “nasty living conditions,” Lt. Martinez said.
Orem City prosecutors charged 26-year-old Kortnie Benson, of Orem, with five class B misdemeanors, including theft, criminal mischief, trespassing and two counts of child abuse.
“They found it was in absolute disarray; it was unsanitary,” Lt. Martinez went on to say about Benson’s apartment. “We’re talking animal feces all over the floor—just a condition that no one, especially kids, young kids that happen to be in the home should have to live in.”
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