Crime Blotter: Chihuahua, Pit Bull Mix-Up

Hmm … Chihuahua or Pit Bull?

I R V I N E, Calif. — There's apparently a new breed of stupidity among criminals in California — robbers who can't tell a Chihuahua from a pit bull.

Mehrad Sepanjasa, 19, Ariyo MacKay, 18, and Kamyar Katouzian, 24, stole two Chihuahua puppies from the Irvine Animal Shelter on Dec. 1, police said. Three days later, they brought the tiny pooches to a Petsmart store in Irvine.

Store director Lisa Morgenthaler said the men didn't appear to be canine connoisseurs.

"They asked me, 'What is this?'" Morgenthaler said. "I told them it looked like a Chihuahua mix. They said, 'No way, it's a pit bull.' They didn't believe me. They wanted to ask the veterinarian."

The Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog in the world and fully grown animals weigh less than 9 pounds. Pit bull terriers are powerful, athletic animals that can weigh up to 60 pounds and are often used in illegal fights.

"They were pretty perturbed that the puppies they stole were not pit bulls," Morgenthaler told The Associated Press. "They thought they were stealing pit bulls. These guys are idiots."

Petsmart employees became suspicious and checked a flier from the Irvine Animal Shelter describing the stolen puppies and noting the animals had microchip identification tags implanted.

They told the men they would take the animals into a back room to clip their toenails. Instead, they scanned the little dogs' microchip ID tags, and called police.

The three men were charged with receiving stolen property. The puppies were returned to the shelter in good condition.

Shelter supervisor Ron Edwards said the dognappers might have become confused by the Chihuahua's striking coloring.

"I understand that they did think they were pit bull puppies," he said of the alleged thieves. "Brindle is a common color for pit bulls, and the puppies are brindle."

This’ll Hurt Me Just As Much As It Hurts You …

A R D M O R E, Okla. — You could say he was armed and dangerous.

With a single bullet, Kylan Bryant managed to shoot himself and another man during an altercation at a stoplight, police said. Both men were hit in the arm.

"It was kind of confusing at first because we had two people shot," said Ardmore Police Lt. Rickey Lawrence. "We believed both people probably had a firearm and shot each other."

But it turned out that one bullet had hit them both.

Bryant was arguing with his girlfriend in a local Kentucky Fried Chicken when the other man, Edwin Williams, intervened. Police said Williams claimed he was trying to help Bryant's girlfriend, but the couple later denied the argument got out of hand.

Bryant drove off with his companion in a pickup truck, and Williams followed in his own vehicle, said Lawrence. When the couple stopped at a light, Williams got out of his car and walked up to the truck, accompanied by several friends.

"They are very intoxicated; they are going to get out and have a conversation with Mr. Bryant," said Lawrence. Bryant appeared sober, he noted.

The argument continued — each side told police the other man threw a punch — and Bryant apparently fired a single shot from a large-caliber handgun.

"He pulls the trigger, a round goes off. It enters in his arm and injures the other guy at the same time with the same round," said Lawrence.

Both men were taken to an Oklahoma City hospital for treatment. Police were still compiling evidence to present to the district attorney, who will decide whether to file charges.

Lawrence said he hoped people would exercise restraint with their firearms. Nevertheless, he offered a basic safety tip: "You've got move your arm out of the way before you pull the trigger."

Looking to Burst His Bubble

F A L L S T O W N S H I P, Pa. — The Gumball Bandit case is proving harder to crack than a Jawbreaker candy.

The sweet-toothed criminal is responsible for a string of candy-machine heists, sometimes stealing entire candy machines and sometimes just the change inside.

The crime spree has puzzled police and victims alike.

"Especially if there's only $3 or $4 — if that — in there," said Bud Carbone of Bud's Service Station, where a machine was hit. "It don't make sense."

The Gumball Bandit began by trying to throw a 15-pound brick through the service station front door. When safety glass stopped that, the candy crook moved on and went for the front plate-glass window. The shop suffered $1,800 worth of broken glass.

"And all they took was a gumball machine that had M&Ms and peanuts in it," said mechanic Ron Breech. "[It is a] little weird, I mean just to take gumballs, especially when you have thousands of dollars of stuff laying around."

The candy-craving criminal has also struck candy machines in the lobby of Redner's Warehouse Market in Middletown Township, at the Hong Luck Chinese restaurant on Route 413, and also at East Penn Automotive in Langhorne.

Authorities say they have a couple of clues to chew on. A witness reported seeing a white male leaving one store in a maroon Chevy Corsica. The thief also left a hammer at one crime scene. It is being dusted for fingerprints.

Sgt. Ken Mellus of the Middletown Police said the crimes were considered felonies, because the bandit was breaking into the businesses to get at the sweets.

"It's pretty serious because it's burglaries," he said.

Crime Blotter, a weekly feature of, is compiled by Oliver Libaw.