3 dogs stolen in Merced robbery

A Merced man was robbed Sunday night in his backyard, losing three of his dogs, the Merced Police Department reported.

The victim, Gregory Spruell, 39, suffered minor injuries during the robbery and was treated at the scene, Capt. Bimley West reported.

Spruell could not be reached for comment.

Police said the thief took a 3-year-old female dog and two female puppies, both about 12 weeks old. Officers identified the dogs as blue nose pit bulls and described the theft as unusual.

“We’re unsure the exact monetary value of the dogs, but we believe the person responsible will likely try to sell them because they’re a very popular breed of dog; they’re very easy to sell,” West said.

Spruell told police he heard a commotion about 9:45 p.m. Sunday in the backyard of his home in the 2800 block of La Palma Avenue.

“He went to investigate and saw a man who had one of the dogs in his backpack,” West said.

Police said Spruell yelled at the intruder, and in response, the suspect struck Spruell several times in the head and ran away.

“The victim then discovered that two of the (puppies) were also missing,” West said.

Police described the suspect as male in his 20s or early 30s, about 6 feet tall, weighing about 160 pounds, with either brown or blond hair.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Merced Police Department at (209) 385-6905 or the Merced Police Department Tipster Line at (209) 385-4725. Individuals can send information via anonymous text messages to the department by dialing TIP411 (847411) and including the word “ComVIP” as the keyword in the text message.