CRIME

SLCPD Investigates Break-in, Dog Theft As Hate Crime

Sep 21, 2018, 11:19 PM | Updated: Sep 22, 2018, 1:09 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Police are investigating a burglary as a hate crime Friday, after a spray-painted slur was discovered on a door.

Julie Lentz said her son, Mike returned to his home near the airport Thursday night to find his house ransacked, thousands of dollars in property stolen and his pug, Gil, missing.

“He’s very attached to his dog — much more so than most people,” Lentz said. “It was really hard for him to see that his dog was gone. He’s been really upset about that.”

Lentz said her son had been burglarized just three months earlier, and the family feared the two crimes may be connected.

“He doesn’t deserve anyone to hate him,” his mother said. “I don’t think he hates a single person in this world and he has a lot of love in his heart and somebody obviously doesn’t know him very well.”

A spokesman with the Salt Lake City Police Department said the department is continuing to look into the case, and is investigating it as a hate crime.

Mike Lentz received some good news Friday afternoon, when he learned his dog had been found by a family that had been walking at Liberty Park.

Nine-year-old Miranda Frandsen said she spotted the pug by the basketball court.

“The dog was sweet,” she said. “He was really nice.”

Frandsen said her family posted a picture of the dog on Facebook, and the post got several responses that ultimately led Gil to be reunited with Lentz.

“He felt like I felt when I couldn’t find my cat,” the girl said of her white cat, Prim, which is still missing. “We just wanted (Gil) to have a better day.”

Mike Lentz was too distraught to talk about what happened, according to his family and friends, but he provided a brief statement through his mother.

“Angry, sad, scared and betrayed,” the statement read. “I never thought I would be a victim (of) a hate crime in my own home.”

Julie Lentz started a GoFundMe page in her son’s name, saying most anything of value was stolen.

“He has nothing to move, so hopefully he can find a new apartment or a new place to live and he’ll be able to get out of the bad place that he’s at,” Lentz said.

Anybody with information in the case was asked to call the Salt Lake City Police Department at 801-799-3000.

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SLCPD Investigates Break-in, Dog Theft As Hate Crime