A Bridgeport man was arrested by warrant Monday for allegedly fleeing out of a Norwalk pet store in July with an English bulldog puppy in his arms.
Police went to the Bridgeport Correctional Center to take Onnie Ray Canady into custody. He was being released from incarceration for an unrelated criminal conviction.
Police say Canady entered Puppies of Westport, 255 Westport Ave., at about 11:30 a.m. on July 9 claiming he wanted to buy a dog. Canady had a young boy with him police at the time identfied as his son.
Store personnel told police Canady selected a 12-week-old English bulldog worth $4,100 and presented an American Express card issued to a Brooklyn, NY, resident to pay for it. When the card was swiped through the register it couldn't be read, so the employee handling the sale entered the numbers manually.
Police said Canady told the boy to get back in his car. Then, while the employee was trying to complete the sale, Canady grabbed the dog and fled to his car.
The employee, who told police Canady almost ran her over as he sped off, recorded the car's license plate, but it turned out to be stolen. The credit card was also stolen.
Store owner Monty Kaufman offered a reward for the dog's return, and contacted police when he received a tip it was at a residence in West Haven.
Norwalk and West Haven police went to the address with Kaufman on July 12 and spotted the dog in the back yard. The homeowner said he met a man on Stratford Avenue in Bridgeport with the dog, and paid him $2,000 for it.
Tuesday morning, police spokeswoman Sgt. Lisa Cotto said the dog had an identification chip inserted in its neck, and Kaufman used a scanner to confirm it was the dog taken from his store.
Cotto said Norwalk officers opened an investigation with Bridgeport Police to determine who stole the dog. She said "good old-fashioned police work" resulted in Canady being identified as the perpertrator.
Canady, 50, of 288 Benham Ave., was charged with third-degree larceny, second-degree forgery, forging a symbol of value, misuse of a credit card, risk of impairing the morals of a minor, reckless driving, and misuse of a license plate.
He was released after posting a $50,000 bond and given a court date of Sept. 27.
State judicial records show Canady has been convicted of committing crimes in Connecticut six times, dating back to 2003, when he was found guilty of second-degree forgery and possession of a controlled substance. He has also been convicted of breach of peace, evading responsibility, use of drug paraphernalia, attempted larceny and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.
He has a case pending in Bridgeport on a charge of third-degree assault.
Puppies of Westport acquired its name from its original location in Westport.