According to an affidavit on TheSmokingGun.com, two dogs, a Golden Retriever mix and a Rottweiler puppy wandered onto the property of Roxanne Duff on September 3. Duff called the police for advice on how to handle the animals. She also claimed the Rottweiler, named Bailey, ran away and didn’t return.
The Retriever was returned to his owner, Shawn Lerch, later that same day, but Bailey was still missing. Lerch called the police to report the missing puppy, and asked that someone check the area for the animal.
Lerch called the police again and told them he believed that Bailey was at the Duff residence. Yet when police asked Scott Duff about the missing puppy, he claimed he did not have the animal. Duff also told the officer to tell Lerch to “stop calling him because they did not have the dog.”
Lerch took to Facebook: “She is still missing. This dog is very important to our family,” he wrote on September 4. “Mostly our daughter, so if [you] see her please get hold of me. And if [you] have her and return her today I will not press charges.”
Undaunted, Lerch called Leechburg Police Department Chief Michael Diebold, and reiterated that the Duffs still had Bailey. Diebold went to the Duff residence, where he found their 5-year-old son and babysitter.
Upon questioning the babysitter if she had seen the dog, the boy claimed, “Mommy had given the dog to a woman from the Internet.”
Confronted with the discrepancy, Scott Duff stuck to his story about how Bailey escaped from his yard and he didn’t have the dog. Diebold informed Duff that he would face charges if he had the dog or disposed of it. He was also told that his son “[had] no reason to lie to the police.”
A short time later, Duff called Diebold and admitted that his wife had sold the puppy on Craigslist for $50.
“Dog was found,” Lerch wrote on Facebook. “She was sold on Craigslist; if she doesn’t appear tonight 3 [people] are getting arrested.”
Fortunately, Roxanne Duff was able to retrieve the dog from the buyer, who lives in Pittsburgh.
The Duffs were charged with Theft of Property Lost, False Reports to Law Enforcement, and Criminal Conspiracy.