MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD – A car thief in Montgomery County was arrested after he tried to bring a dog to the local shelter that was in the vehicle he stole.
On Tuesday night (January 5), officers responded to a parking garage at the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda for the report of a vehicle that had been stolen with a dog inside of it. Officers reviewed mall surveillance video and observed the suspect trying the door handles of multiple vehicles to see if they were unlocked. The suspect was seen stealing the victim’s SUV, which was left running and unattended. Auto theft detectives began to investigate the theft and work to identify the suspect.
Yesterday afternoon, (January 6), as the suspect attempted to turn in the dog to the Montgomery County Animal Services & Adoption Center as “stray”, an Animal Services employee recognized that the dog looked very similar to a dog that had been reported as stolen in a social media post. The employee also noted that the vehicle the suspect had driven to the adoption center matched the description of the vehicle reported as stolen during the same incident.
Officers were called to the scene and the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Malik Gillispie of Germantown, was arrested and charged with motor vehicle theft. Detectives noted that Gillispie was wearing the same clothing he was wearing in the mall surveillance video (when he stole the SUV).
“The dog, Joey, was reunited with his family,” the department said. “This incident is a reminder to all of us to never leave our vehicles running and unattended. We’re happy that Joey is back home with his family!”
You can watch the dog’s reunion with its family here.