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Two Charged With Somerset County Burglary And Dognapping Of 'Pepper'

Photo courtesy of the Somerset Prosecutor's Office
Photo courtesy of the Somerset Prosecutor's Office
Pepper, the 1-year-old Schnauzer taken from his Franklin Township home last week, was safely returned by the two people who allegedly stole him in the first place. 

New Brunswick residents Charly J. Garcia, 20 and Michele Andrade, 19, brought Pepper to the Cedar Lane Animal Clinic on Friday and were immediately questioned by Franklin Township Police, according to prosecutor's office. 

Later, when Garcia consented to a car search, police found stolen property from the burglarized residence and arrested the pair on multiple theft and burglary charges. 

According to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office:

Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce the arrests of Charly J. Garcia, age 20, of Dogwood Court, New Brunswick, New Jersey and Michele Andrade, age 19, of Edpas Road, New Brunswick, New Jersey. 

Prosecutor Soriano states that on June 24, 2014 the Franklin Township Police department responded to a Hunt Road residence on a report of a burglary. Responding officers met with the homeowner who reported that her home had been burglarized and that her one year old Schnauzer Poodle mixed dog named “Pepper” was taken by the suspect(s). 

The victim also reported that a laptop computer, an Apple Ipad and various pieces of jewelry were also taken. The approximate value of the stolen items was $13,900.

Franklin Township detectives notified area animal shelters and veterinarians of the missing dog. With the assistance of the New York /New Jersey Media outlets a photo of Pepper appeared on the evening news as well as in print and online editions of local newspapers.

 On June 27, 2014, defendants Garcia and Andrade contacted the Cedar Lane Animal Clinic in the Somerset section of Franklin Township and informed the staff that they found Pepper and that they would be bringing the dog to their clinic. 

Upon receiving this information, the clinic contacted the Franklin Township Police.

Once the defendants arrived at the clinic they were questioned by detectives and brought to police headquarters. Defendant Garcia gave detectives consent to search his vehicle a 2002 Honda Accord. The search resulted in the seizure of stolen property from the Hunt Road residence. Both defendants were arrested and processed at police headquarters.

Both defendants were charged with Burglary, 3rd Degree, Theft of Property, 3rd Degree and Theft of a Domestic Companion Animal, 3rd Degree.

Defendant Garcia was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set by the Honorable Anthony F. Picheca, Jr., at $20,000. Defendant Andrade was released on her own recognizance.

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