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Monday, June 14, 2021

2 arrested in connection with stealing dog from car in Rancho Cucamonga, attempted extortion

Two people were arrested in connection with stealing a dog from a car in Rancho Cucamonga and later trying to extort money from the victim, sheriff’s officials reported.

Deputies responded to a parking lot on Day Creek Boulevard about 4:30 p.m. Sunday to a report of a vehicle burglary, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday in a news release.

The victim reported leaving her dog in the car while she went inside the store. When she returned to her car, the alarm was going off, the front driver’s side window was smashed and the dog was gone, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Deputies searched the area but did not find any suspects.

The day after her dog was stolen, the victim received a phone call from a woman who said she bought the missing dog from someone in Riverside. Authorities said the caller was later identified as Jennifer Lopez, a 21-year-old Mojave resident.

“Lopez threatened to keep the dog if the victim did not pay her $1,100 through an app,” the Sheriff’s Department said. “The victim refused to pay the money via an app but agreed to meet the next day in person to exchange the money for the dog.”

At that point the victim notified police and the investigation continued.

On Wednesday, undercover deputies from the Victoria Gardens Substation saw a man, who was later identified as 30-year-old Mojave resident Oscar Ochoa, standing in the 12300 block of North Main Street holding a dog matching the description of the stolen canine. When the deputies approached Ochoa, he handed the dog over to the undercover deputy “assuming she was the victim,” sheriff’s officials said.

Ochoa was detained for questioning. Deputies learned that he arrived at North Marin Street in a red Ford-F150.

When deputies saw the truck leaving the area they initiated a traffic stop. The truck was being driven by Lopez and inside deputies found two small children who were not properly secured, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Child Protective Services took custody of the children and the dog was returned to the victim.

Ochoa and Lopez were arrested on suspicion of vehicle burglary, extortion and child cruelty. They were later released after posting a $35,000 bail bond.

Anyone with information about this investigation is urged to contact the Rancho Cucamonga Sheriff’s Station at 909-477-2800. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can call the We-tip Hotline at 800-782-7463.

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