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Alleged dognapper arrested, charged

Jan. 6, 2014 at 3:15 PM

MIAMI, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- A Miami man is facing charges for allegedly stealing a champion French bulldog and 15 puppies, officials said.

Vigil "Shaggy" Birch, 29, was arrested and charged Saturday with 16 counts of grand theft and 16 counts of dealing in stolen property for the theft of the dogs on New Year's Eve, the Miami Herald reported.

Authorities said Birch allegedly stole the dogs from Miami breeder Marcelo Cicuta's home. The 15 stolen puppies were valued at $30,000 while the championship-winning dog, named "El Che," is worth about $50,000.

All of the dogs were returned to Cicuta.

"I have the dogs back. Everything is good," Cicuta said Saturday. "I want to say thank you to the Miami police and the Broward policemen."

Birch appeared in court Sunday where a judge set his bond at $14,500.

Police are still looking for an accomplice in the crime.

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