Redding police have arrested one man in connection with the theft of a van containing 14 show dogs that was stolen from an In-N-Out earlier this month and are asking for the public's help in locating another.
A white van carrying the 14 dogs was stolen from the Redding fast food restaurant's parking lot in the early afternoon of June 6 when the van's owner, Tony Carter, stopped in to get lunch on his way to the annual Woofstock dog show in Vallejo. The van was found the next day in south Redding by police.
Benjamin David Larson, 41, was located and arrested Thursday afternoon in connection with the dognapping after being identified during the investigation as one of two suspects seen in a surveillance video obtained by police from the In-N-Out restaurant, according to a Redding Police Department news release.
The other man in the surveillance video is identified by police as Billie Jo Patterson, 28. He is also wanted by police in connection with the incident.
Police say both men are from Redding.
When Carter emerged from In-N-Out Burger on June 6, his van carrying 14 rat terriers, golden Labs, Rottweilers and other show dogs was missing, Redding police reported at the time.
"We ordered at 1:19, the van was gone by 1:23," Carter, who lives in Washington, earlier told the Redding Record-Searchlight about the theft. "It was gone. It was literally gone that fast."
Carter told the publication he’d left the van unlocked with the engine and air conditioning running for the dogs, which were carried in crates in the back.
"Stupid me, because, obviously, I thought, 'It's busy, it's the middle of the day,' " Carter said, adding he had frequently stopped at the same In-N-Out Burger outlet on previous trips.
The van, still containing the dogs, was found Thursday in south Redding, according to the Record-Searchlight. The dogs could be heard barking inside the locked vehicle, police told the publication.
The dogs needed food and water but were healthy, the paper reported.
After identifying both Larson and Patterson as the suspects from the surveillance video, police say they issued warrants for their arrests.
Police say Larson has an extensive criminal history and is being held at the Shasta County jail for the arrest warrant and 14 counts of animal cruelty, along with vehicle theft and possession of stolen property.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Patterson is asked to call Redding police at (530) 225-4200.