ATLANTA - Thieves have been targeting pet stores in Georgia. Dozens of purebred puppies have been stolen over the past few weeks, valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
There have been break-ins at five different stores in the past five weeks, including four Petland stores. The most recent case was this past weekend in Rome.
"Somebody threw a rock through the front window, went in and stole 11 puppies," said Rome Police Capt. Roy Willingham.
Rome Police Capt. Roy Willingham says these were some price pups, ranging from $2,800 to $7,200.
"Boston Terrier, French Bulldog, Great Dane, Yorkshire Terriers, all breeds, but purebred," said Capt. Willingham.
The corporate office of Petland says four Petland stores in Georgia have been hit by thieves since mid-March. Those stores were in Kennesaw, Dunwoody, Columbus, and Rome.
"We've had more than 40 puppies taken and the value is around $200,000," said Bud Lytle with Petland.
Just a few ago a pet shop in Gwinnett County was also hit. Thieves wearing masks shattered the front door, scooped up puppies and put them in a bag.
'They took about $60,000 in puppies.19 puppies in total were taken," said Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Collin Flynn.
While police can't say the same crooks are behind all of the thefts, there are a lot of similarities. In most of the cases, the criminals also took money from the cash register or the safe. In all the cases, the most popular breeds were stolen.
"No idea what they're doing with these puppies, I'm assuming they're going to sell them on the black market somewhere, or flea market, or online," said Capt. Willingham.
Petland says they're now stepping up security at their stores, but they say their biggest concern is the pups. They're still babies and need vaccinations and proper nutrition.
"We want to get the puppies back to give them the proper care they need.to grow and find a happy home," said Lytle.