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Echo Park Man's Dog Returned After Being Stolen By Fake Cops

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An Echo Park man's dog was returned to him after he fell victim to an awful scam last month where two women posing as LAPD officers stole his pet.

Police had been searching for Cesar Aguilar's dog, Fannie, ever since she was taken by the two women on April 24, ABC 7 reports. Authorities have arrested one of the suspects, 51-year-old Jenny Smiles, and are still looking for the other.

The women were wearing green uniforms that day when they knocked on the the door of Aguilar's home located on the 1000 block of Waterloo Street. They told Aguilar that they were from the LAPD Animal Cruelty Task Force, and had official-looking papers. The duo claimed that they had been receiving complaints that the man was starving his dog and that they needed to take the dog in to check if there were signs of abuse or neglect or else he'd face fines or an arrest. Aguliar handed over his dog, thinking they would realize the mistake they made. He was devastated when he later realized his dog had been stolen.

Police were tipped off by a person who heard the suspects bragging about what they had done, which led them to Smiles.

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Smiles faces felony charges of extortion, theft and theft by trickery.

Anyone with information about this case or who have encountered a similar incident with Smiles is asked to call the LAPD at (877) LAPD-24-7.

Update [Saturday, May 9]: According to ABC 7, neighbors have called the LAPD before with complaints that Aguilar neglected his dog, and an animal rights activist says Smiles and the other suspect acted "out of genuine concern for the well-being of this animal."

"There are no signs that this dog was being abused or was neglected," said an LAPD detective.