Dognappers Arrested After Stealing Puppy from Animal Shelter

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TAVARES – A couple found themselves behind bars Friday evening after stealing an 8-month-old puppy from the Lake County Sheriff’s Animal Shelter Thursday afternoon according to deputies.

Justin Geoffrey Kates, 28, and Michelle Ashley Barbee, 29, were caught on video surveillance at the animal shelter as they walked out with the puppy.

According to officials at the shelter, the puppy, Kendrick, was in a restricted area that is normally behind a locked door recuperating after being neutered. His adopted family was scheduled to pick him up later that day.

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It is unclear as to why the couple stole the puppy or how they gained access to the restricted room.

After posting the incident on their Facebook fan page, deputies received numerous tips that led to Kates and Barbee.

When deputies arrived at their home in Eustis, they were able to recover Kendrick.

Kates and Barbee were both arrested. Kates was charged with burglary to an occupied dwelling and retail theft. He remains at the Lake County Jail in lieu of a $15,000 bond.

Barbee was charged with retail theft and remains in the Lake County Jail in liue of a $500 bond.

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