Fake animal control officers stealing dogs, police say

PINCKNEYVILLE, Ill. -- Some dog thieves in Illinois have come up with a nasty scheme to get hold of expensive canines - they pose as animal control officers before they go after purebreds.

The Perry County Sheriff told KMOV a pair of men are stealing dogs in Pinckneyville, Ill., as they drive in a white pick-up truck and act like 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," Perry County Sheriff Steve Bareis said.

So far, the sheriff said three dogs have been taken in Perry County and at least two more dogs have been stolen in neighboring Randolph and Washington counties. The sheriff said the thieves are snatching purebreds.

"It's scary but I always tell people you cannot leave your dog unattended," said Amber Gulley, Humane Society.

"I remember years ago this happened, I didn't have this guy I had a chow and the same thing was going around and it really scared me, but he doesn't go out without me," dog owner Carmen Kohout said.

The sheriff echoed that advice. He said the dogs taken are likely gone for good after being sold for quick cash.

"Yeah, you look at them anywhere from $800 to a couple thousand dollars," Sheriff Bareis said.

The sheriff adds that at least twice the thieves were scared off by owners, but they're also likely to keep trying to take the dogs until they're caught.

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