Florida man charged in scheme to dognap pit bull for $25,000 ransom

An elaborate dognapping scheme was foiled when the bad guy failed to realize he was negotiating the canine's ransom with detectives, records show.

Alachua County sheriff's detectives say Jeffrey Parris, 34, of 4705 NW 42nd St. in Gainesville, broke into a Jonesville home Monday and stole thousands in cash, two handguns, $1,000 shoes — and capped things off by swiping the victim's dog, an AKC-registered, gray-and-white American Pit Bull terrier named Rosalyn, or Roz, for short. (The precise spelling of the dog's name could not be confirmed Wednesday.)

Following the burglary, the victim began to get texts demanding $20,000 for the dog's safe return. The texts — sent by someone who knew the victim's exact location — warned the victim that he was being watched.

The dognapper texted the victim over several hours, outlining plans for a money drop and threatening to harm Roz if the ransom wasn't paid.

In the meantime, the victim had made contact with sheriff's detectives.

On day two, detectives say Parris upped the ante, texting the victim that the ransom had been raised to $25,000 for Roz's safe return and threatening if the ransom wasn't paid, he would "send her (expletive deleted) paws in a box."

By then, detectives said, they had taken over the text-negotiations and arranged to leave a bag of money in bushes near the Brighton Beach Carwash at 11202 NW U.S. Highway 441, about six miles southeast of Alachua.

Detectives dropped an empty money bag at the location, and readied a surveillance team. They texted the photo of the bag.

Shortly after 5:42 p.m. Tuesday, they saw a man pull up in a pickup truck, grab the bag and leave. Minutes later, he texted again: "no money in that bag."

Deputies kept a tail on the truck until they were able to get ahead of it and place "stop sticks" in its path.


Deputies find Roz alive, huddled on the floorboard

Parris was stopped shortly thereafter — driving his wife's pickup — and deputies quickly found Roz alive, tucked between the driver's seat and the back seat, huddled on the floorboard. Also in the truck: the 24-year-old victim's $900 Louis Vuitton sweatshirt, $1,000 Louis Vuitton shoes and a leash.

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A search warrant of Parris’ home also recovered $14,940 of the stolen cash and packaging for a tracker device that had been placed on the victim's car.

Upon his arrest, Parris requested an attorney. His bail is set at $525,000.

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According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Parris spent January 2007 until October 2009 in state prison on multiple burglary and grand theft-related charges out of Marion County.


Original article: https://www.gainesville.com/story/ne...om/6159668002/