Ransom demanded in dognapping

GILLETTE (WNE) — A Gillette man’s English bulldog puppy was allegedly taken from his yard on Friday and is being held for a $2,000 ransom.

Before going to work that morning, Corey Beck let his puppy, Jazper, outside. When he returned to his East Ninth Street home later in the day, he found his gate opened and Jazper missing. He ran around his neighborhood, knocking on doors and calling for his puppy but couldn’t find him.

Then, Beck received a text message saying he had to pay $2,000 or Jazper would be stabbed and thrown into his yard.

“The messages are just horrifying,” Beck said. “A dog is like a kid, you don’t hurt it.”

Beck reported the incident to the police, who have been unable to find the dognapper because the text message was sent using a spoof phone number, said Police Sgt. Eric Dearcorn. When officers called the number, it went to a man’s voicemail. Since then, officers have called the number several times and the line has rung repeatedly without going to voicemail.

Police are investigating and working to find the person behind the text messages and to recover Beck’s puppy.

Beck said he discovered the spoof phone number was created using Google, so he contacted Google for help finding the person behind the number. He also contacted the FBI in the hope that its investigators can identify the person who took Jazper.

“This hurts to the bone,” Beck said.