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Hagerstown woman charged in puppy theft

July 12, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Hagerstown woman was arraigned Tuesday for allegedly breaking into the Berkeley County Humane Society in 2004 and stealing two pit bull puppies, magistrate court records show.

Carrie Nicole Minnick, 19, of 47 East Ave., was charged with breaking and entering and receiving and/or transferring stolen property.

A $12,500 bond was set in an arraignment hearing held by Magistrate Sandra L. Miller.

According to a complaint filed by Berkeley County Sheriff's deputy J.R. Crites, Minnick was implicated by Roberta Elizabeth Dove, who previously pleaded guilty to taking part in the break-in Sept. 26 at 554 Charles Town Road.

"Ms. Dove stated that ... Minnick kicked out the vent of the wall of (the building) crawled through the opening and handed the two dogs out to (her) and then left and went back to Maryland," Crites said.

Two days after the break-in, Maryland State Police unknowingly discovered one of the pups in a Hagerstown residence at 148 E. Franklin St., amid a consent search for stolen property.

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"We saw a pit bull puppy in there and didn't think anything of it," Cpl. D.A. Harper said Tuesday.

The next day, Harper noticed a published account concerning the puppy theft and further investigation led him to believe the animal was stolen, police said.

The second puppy was found Sept. 30, 2004, in a residence at 41 W. Bethel St., records show.

Harper learned that Minnick's mother contacted the Humane Society about possibly receiving a stolen puppy from her daughter and was "more than willing" to relinquish custody of the dog because she thought it had parvo, a life-threatening disease.

According to police, the Humane Society's shelter manager in 2004 told police that Dove attempted to adopt a pit bull the day before the burglary and also visited a shelter in Hagerstown looking to adopt.

The morning after the burglary, shelter workers discovered dogs wandering outside their kennels. But all of the animals, except the puppies, were accounted for, according to published accounts.

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