Police are warning Southern Illinois residents to keep an eye out for dog bandits posing as animal control officers who are snatching dogs right out of their yards.
Five dogs, including purebreds, have reportedly been stolen so far, while some dog owners ran the thieves off before they ran away with their pets.
Perry County Sheriff Steve Bareis told KMOV that the two men have been targeting homes in Perry, Randolph, and Washington counties, driving a white pickup truck marked “Animal Control” and passing themselves off as animal control officers
“They’ve been taken out of fenced areas and so forth, they’re basically patrolling during the day for them and they seem to be coming back at night or making sure people are gone and taking them at that time,” the sheriff told the news station.
Sheriff Bareis said he believes the thieves are quickly selling the dogs.
“Yeah, you look at them anywhere from $800 to a couple thousand dollars,” he reportedly said.
On two occasions, the dog owners were able to confront the thieves and stop the crime.
Authorities have not released a description of the alleged thieves themselves, but residents should be wary of any strange vehicles and individuals in the neighborhood. And this seems like a good reason to keep your dogs inside the house at night.