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Hemet woman suspected of puppy theft released from jail


Last updated 11/6/2020 at 12:39pm

HEMET (CNS) - A 21-year-old woman suspected of stealing a puppy from a Hemet animal shelter where his owners had left him for a medical procedure was released from custody Friday, Nov. 6.

Chanel Groffo of Hemet was arrested Thursday and booked into the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta on suspicion of grand theft of a dog. She was released on her own recognizance this morning after signing a promise-to-appear citation, according to jail records.

Hemet police Lt. Michael Arellano said that on Wednesday morning, the owners of the 3-month-old Welsh Corgi puppy, ``Kai,'' left him at the ARE Animal Rescue on Florida Avenue to be neutered.

After the procedure was finished, Kai was placed in a crate inside the shelter to recover. Arellano said. About an hour later, Groffo spotted the pup and snatched him, immediately leaving the premises, he alleged.

Rescue employees and Kai's owners reported the theft to police, prompting detectives to initiate an investigation that soon pointed to Groffo as the alleged thief, according to the lieutenant.

Video security footage of the theft was aired on ABC7 prior to the woman's arrest. Channel 7 reported that she came into the shelter with a young child and told workers she was looking to adopt a kitten.

She was taken into custody without incident about 2:30 p.m. Thursday at a residence on North Hemet Street, where the puppy was found, Arellano said. The dog was not harmed, and was reunited with his owners.

``Kai and his family were ecstatic to be back together again,'' the lieutenant said.

Groffo has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County. She has a tentative arraignment date of Jan. 27 at the Banning Justice Center, according to jail records.


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