Suspect In Shelter Break-In Was Stealing Dogs, Say Investigators
A suspect has been named in the bloody animal shelter break-in, and authorities say he did it to steal dogs held in quarantine.On Wednesday, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department issued a warrant for the arrest of 42-year old Jason Ernest Johnson, also known as Jason Neunzer, in connection with the break-in that resulted in the death of at least four dogs. The L.A. Times reports that investigators believe Johnson broke into the Western Riverside County Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley to steal three dogs held in quarantine. ABC 7 says he went for pit bulls that were potentially going to be put down. Authorities did not say whether he owned those dogs or not.
"Mr. Johnson is actively wanted," said Captain Jason Horton of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. "Several sheriff's department investigators as we speak are actively attempting to track him down." Investigators believe he is on the run and is either in Fresno or Las Vegas.
According to a flyer from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, Johnson is currently on probation for drug-related charges.
When an employee arrived to the shelter on Sunday morning, he discovered that 22 kennels had been broken into and two dogs dead at the scene. Two more were later discovered dead after being hit by cars, and seven remain missing. Investigators think Johnson set the dogs free as a distraction. However, he was caught on surveillance cameras.
Authorities say Johnson may be driving a 2006 white Dodge Ram pickup with the plate 00064R1.