A man taped a photo of himself on an apparently stolen ID in order to steal a dog from the Animal Humane Society in St. Paul Wednesday afternoon, according to police.
The suspect walked out with Ace, a 10-month-old black and white pit bull mix, and never returned, said St. Paul police spokesman Steve Linders.
The Animal Humane Society (AHS) allows guests to take adoptable dogs on a walk if they leave an ID with employees and sign the dog out. When the suspect, who remains at large, didn’t return Ace in about an hour, employees grew suspicious and reviewed the ID he had left behind, said AHS spokesman Zach Nugent, who described the incident as “really an odd situation.”
“The man had taped a photo of himself over” the real ID, Linders said.
The ID was left behind in a wallet that contained credit cards and other information that belonged to someone else. Police were called to the scene about 1:30 p.m.
“This person gave staff his duct taped wallet,” Nugent said of the suspect. “[He] explained that he couldn’t take the ID out because the wallet would fall apart.”
According to police: another employee said the same man had put a hold on Ace Saturday. The process allows potential adopters to put a $25 deposit on a dog that must be picked up within 24 hours. The man never returned for Ace within the allotted time.
Information the man left behind for the hold was also inaccurate, Linders said.
An employee told police Wednesday the man said he had once owned Ace, but that his friend last had possession of the dog. The man said his friend moved and surrendered Ace instead of returning him, which upset the man.
It would have likely cost between $200 to $400 to adopt Ace, according to Nugent.
The AHS allows guests to take dogs for walks averaging 30-45 minutes in order to bond with the animal and assess their interest in adoption.
“We like to trust individuals…,” Nugent said. “We really encourage people to spend one-on-one time with an animal before making a decision to adopt.”
A dog was stolen from the AHS in a similar fashion about six months ago at time when guests did not have to leave IDs behind, Nugent said. The incident prompted the AHS to request IDs, a practice it had observed in the past.
The case with Ace will prompt discussions at AHS, but the organization would like to continue trusting guests, Nugent said.