Authorities in California have arrested one of two suspects they believe stole a van containing 14 show dogs from a fast food restaurant earlier this month.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Redding police arrested 41-year-old Benjamin David Larson (pictured above right) on Thursday on suspicion of stalking the van bound for Woofstock, a dog show in Vallejo.
The incident occurred at an In-N-Out location in Redding on June 6. Tony Carter was reportedly transporting the dogs to the show when he stopped to grab lunch at the restaurant.
His van was stolen from the parking lot and police recovered it a short distance away the following day. The vehicle was locked and all the dogs were inside.
The van contained a mix of breeds including Rottweilers, golden Labradors and rat terriers. They were all crated inside the vehicle.
Reports indicate they could be heard barking from outside of the locked van. Aside from requiring food and water, they all appeared to be in good overall health.
Carter said he was thinking of the dogs when he left the van running and the air conditioner on while he ran inside to pick up his order.
“We ordered at 1:19, the van was gone by 1:23,” he said. “It was gone. It was literally gone that fast.”
The Washington native acknowledged that he naively believed the vehicle would be safe for a few minutes.
“Stupid me, because obviously I thought, ‘It’s busy, it’s the middle of the day,'” he said, citing similar stops at the same location in the past without incident.
Authorities also named Billie Jo Patterson, 28, as a suspect in the crime. Both men were reportedly identified through surveillance camera footage.
Investigators are asking anyone with information about Patterson’s whereabouts to contact the Redding Police Department by calling 530-225-4200.
[Featured image: Billie Jo Patterson and Benjamin Larson, Redding Police Department]