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Accused Silver Spring dog thief demanded money, victim says

Dan Morse

The Crime Scene was able to speak with Gloria Chicas, owner of the dogs discussed in Wednesday's post about a dognapping in Montgomery County, earlier this afternoon.

We also learned how Scooby, the dog county police said was recovered by the man charged with theft but later found dead, died: He was hit by a car, police said.

Chicas, 56, owned four dogs as of Sunday morning: Scooby, a 2 1/2-year old Golden Retriever; Scrappy, a 13-month old brown poodle; Duby, another poodle; and Darny, a Chihuahua-mix. Chicas let them out in back of her home Sunday morning before leaving for her job at Lowe’s in Laurel, she said, and when she went to retrieve them Scooby and Scrappy were gone.

She eventually got a telephone call from alleged dog extortionist Najie Walker. Chicas recalled their conversation this way:

"Ma'am, I got your dogs. I want a reward."

"What are you talking about?"

"Money. I want money."

Walker was behind bars on Wednesday. He could not be reached, and it's not clear if he has retained an attorney yet.

Chicas called the police, who arrived. A short time later, an officer near her home reported that a dog had been hit by a car. Chicas went out to identify him. It was Scooby. She cried and shook. The police took her back to her house.

Chicas said she drove Officer Michael Rodriguez to the McDonald’s for a planned meeting with the suspect. Rodriguez posed as Chicas’s nephew. After police took the suspect into custody, they returned Scrappy to .

“Let me tell you, Officer Rodriguez is the hero in this case,” said Chicas.

She said Walker, the suspect, had told her he had let Scooby go because Scooby was too big for where Walker was staying. Then Scooby got hit by a car, a fatality Chicas lays at Walker’s feet.

"He didn’t care. He let him go. He's guilty, 100 percent, because Scooby is dead," Chicas said. "I want him in jail."

Cpl. Dan Friz, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Police Department, said police are looking into possible other charges against Walker, including animal cruelty.

Chicas, a native of El Salvador, believes Walker tried to take advantage of her after hearing her accent under the assumption that some immigrants are scared to call the police. Montgomery County police have a policy not to ask crime victims about their immigration status. Chicas said she is a U.S. citizen.

-- Dan Morse

By Dan Morse  |  February 17, 2010; 3:01 PM ET
Categories:  Dan Morse , Montgomery , Updates  
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I am a responsible dog owner and animal lover. It is a shame that a beautiful dog had to die and another one lost his companion because an owner did not keep them safe. Dogs don't just run away or "get out". Their owners are careless. They are just dogs and don't know the danger. When they get out/lost they are afraid. I stop and pick up dogs all the time that are loose and return them either to their owners, a shelter or find a good home for them on my own. You need to keep your dogs safe with either a fence or on a leash and make certian the gate is secured with a lock so it does not get "left open" They count on you to keep them safe.

Posted by: robindee13 | February 19, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

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