Police Wednesday released a description of a suspect who stole a French bulldog in a violent attack in the hills above West Hollywood.
Luca, a tan, 8-year-old French bulldog, needs daily medication, has a special diet and is missing a toe, his owner Robert Marinelli said.
“I’m just completely distraught,” Marinelli told ABC7. “Someone has just ripped my heart out.”
Marinelli and Luca were on a morning stroll around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday on the corner of North Wetherly Drive and Shoreham Drive, north of Sunset Boulevard, when Marinelli was punched in the back of the head by a man who emerged from a parked black sedan and grabbed Luca.
Marinelli tried to rescue Luca and was dragged by the car as the suspect fled, which left him with injuries to his back and legs. The incident was captured by neighborhood surveillance cameras.
“I had a big bump on my head that I had to get a CAT scan for and more abrasions on my arms and legs,” the dog owner told CBS2.
The Los Angeles Police Department was investigating the incident as an assault and robbery case, the station reported.
Police described the suspect who grabbed Luca as a Black man in his early 20’s who stands about 5-feet-9 inches tall and weighs about 165 pounds. The suspect was last seen wearing all black clothing with a red vest.
A second suspect who was inside the parked sedan was described only as a female.
Thieves have increasingly targeted owners of the expensive French bulldogs, including a high-profile case in February in which two of pop icon and actress Lady Gaga’s dogs were stolen from her dog walker at gunpoint.
While Marinelli loves Luca, the dog’s health issues mean it’s “not like (he’s a) Westminster French bulldog,” the owner said, referencing one of the world’s most recognized dog shows.
Anyone with information on Luca’s whereabouts was asked to call Wes at 646-499-0863, or Robert at 646-207-4829. Luca’s owner is offering a $10,000 reward for the dog’s safe return.
“Just the whole thing seems so bizarre, it’s like surreal,” Marinelli told CBS2. “But (the suspect) was definitely there waiting for me.
“Please return the dog unharmed,” he pleaded to the thief.