Family members: Woman accused of stealing French bulldog wasn't going to keep him

Dyan Chavez faces grand theft charge

SAN DIEGO - As a woman accused of stealing a dog from a downtown San Diego business sits in jail, her family told 10News what she planned to do with the animal.

On Tuesday evening, 10News cameras were rolling as police arrested 23-year-old Dyan Chavez in the parking lot of a Food 4 Less store off University Avenue in the El Cerrito area.

Chavez is accused of taking two-year-old French bulldog Mozzy from the storefront at Rate Rabbit Home Loans on Front Street.

10News viewer Sandro Fernandez said he spotted an SUV that matched the description of the one seen outside of the downtown business. That is when he called police.

"I was at the Dollar Store earlier and I saw her," he told 10News. "She came in with the dog in her hands and I recognized it right away because I saw the video earlier on the news and then we followed her to Food 4 Less and we saw the car that she had and it matched the video."

Police said Chavez had the same coat as the woman seen in the surveillance video.

"Mozzy comes to work every day. He's kind of our therapy for when things get stressful," said Robin Mitchell, who is with Rate Rabbit Home Loans.

On Dec. 3, security video showed a man in a red shirt checking Mozzy out.

"There is nothing over there that would cause him to come over to that window," said Mitchell.

In the video, the man, who seems friendly, crouches down and taps on the glass to get Mozzy's attention. Thirty seconds later, the man leaves.

Less than a minute after the man leaves, video shows what appears to be a young woman opening the door and bending down, likely calling Mozzy over to her. Mozzy gives her a sniff and then runs out the door and around the corner, with the woman leaving as well. Witnesses reported seeing a red Ford Explorer near the scene, but no one saw a license plate.

On Wednesday, Chavez's brother, David, defended his sister, and he told 10News, "She was never going to keep it."

Family members said Mozzy was taken to their home -- just blocks from where Dyan Chavez was arrested. A niece said Chavez renamed the dog "Drooler" because he seemed to do a lot of that.

When asked about a possible motive, David Chavez said his sister never mentioned wanting a French bulldog. He seemed puzzled as to why she would take one.

When asked whether she intended to sell the dog, Chavez did not respond.

10News learned French bulldogs can cost a buyer thousands of dollars. One local breeder advertises online that they can run as high as $15,000.

Mozzy's owner, Jeff Vuytowecz, said he paid $3,000, but told 10News his dog is priceless. He also said he would gladly pay the $5,000 reward to the man who found the dog that rarely leaves his side.

"I just want to thank everyone," said Vuytowecz. "I really appreciate the cooperation from everybody and it wouldn't have been possible without the help of people."

10News learned that Chavez cashed a check at the Union Bank next door right before Mozzy was taken.

She is being held on $25,000 bail, and she faces charges of burglary, receiving stolen property and grand theft.

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