Sixteen pit bulls stolen at shelter in two weeks

Feb. 13, 2012 at 11:23 AM

COLUMBIA, S.C., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Sixteen pit bulls were stolen from the Columbia (S.C.) Animal Shelter in two weeks, including five during the weekend, officials said.

Recently installed police security cameras captured high-definition photos of a suspect, a short man wearing a disguise, during the latest break-in Saturday, The State newspaper in Columbia reported.

"Obviously, he's wearing a disguise, but criminals are bold these days," said police spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons. "We are hoping that someone will recognize him from the photos we're releasing."

Pit bulls have been stolen from the shelter on three straight weekends since Jan. 29.

Pit bulls are favored by criminals who like their aggressive tendencies and breed them for illegal dog fights, police officers said.

"We continue to determine specifically why these dogs are being targeted. Since the first crime happened we have been coordinating security efforts with the animal shelter to hopefully capture the individual or individuals responsible. We don't want these dogs to be harmed in any way," said Police Chief Randy Scott.

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