Phoenix resident Mike Aley is the proud owner of a 4-year-old Staffordshire Terrier named Lexy, who happens to be one of the worst guard dogs in the world.
On February 24, Aley's house near 64th and Voltaire streets was burglarized. The thieves, Aley tells New Times, stole a watch, a laptop...and Lexy.
Aley says the crooks broke into his house through a dog door about 7:30 a.m. on the morning of the burglary. Aley's house is directly across the street from a pre-school, and he suspects the kids arriving for school may have spooked the burglars off. The men left, but left a side gate open, through which Lexy escaped.
Lexy ran to the pre-school, where school administrators found her, noticed Aley's phone number on the dog's collar, and called its owner.
Aley, however, didn't get the message until about 10:30 a.m., he says, and, meantime, the dog had been accidentally handed over to the very men who were burglarizing his house.
Aley says, about 9:30 a.m., a school administrator brought the dog to his house. Aley was at work, but the crooks apparently had come back to finish the job after they were scared off by the commotion of children arriving at the school.
The administrator spoke with one of the men, who told her he was Aley's nephew, which was a load of crap because, as the administrator would later find out, Aley doesn't even have a nephew.
The two crooks loaded the dog into their car, and took off.
"What the heck were these guys thinking," Aley tells New Times. "I was worried. I did everything you're supposed to do -- posting flyers, checking Maricopa County Animal shelters."
No sign of Lexy, though.
Yesterday, two brothers were arrested for another burglary in the area. Colin Tuttle Newcomb, 20, and his 21-year-old brother Robert Paul Newcomb, got popped breaking into another house where the homeowner was still home.
Phoenix police had a hunch the two men might be the same guys who were approached by the school administrator, which they were -- Aley says cops drove the two men to the school, where the administrator identified them as the people to whom she'd given the dog.
The two wouldn't say where Lexy was, though, despite Phoenix PD questioning them until about 2 a.m., Aley says.
"The Phoenix police have been great, but I was starting to lose hope," Aley says. "Maybe they gave her to their drug dealer, who knows."
Coincidentally, the same day the Newcomb brothers were arrested, Lexy was located near 35th Avenue, about 100 blocks away from Aley's home, and returned home.
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"She's in great shape," Aley says. "She was a little dirty and probably lost about five pounds, but other than that..."
Robert Newcomb was booked on one count of trafficking in stolen property and one count of posessing stolen property. His brother, Colin, has been charged with three counts of burglary.
Aley says police are looking for another man who lived with the two brothers, who may also have been involved in the dog-napping.