Portsmouth suspected dog thief targets French bulldog telling owner: 'I want it'

A WOMAN has told of the moment a suspected dog thief targeted her French bulldog on a Southsea street and said: ‘I want it.’

By Ben Fishwick
Sunday, 31st January 2021, 1:34 pm

Charlene Gibbs was walking home in the dark with a relative when a man in a blue car pulled over and shouted over.

She said the man then asked what breed her French bulldog Nellie was as they reached the Fawcett Inn pub.

Charlene said: ‘I ignored him at this point I was standing outside the pub, I walked slowly up Fawcett Rd and got to about the Golden Horse Chinese, literally a step away from the pub.

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French bulldog Nellie was targeted by a suspected dog thief in Southsea on January 22.

‘He opened his car door saying “what breed is the dog then?”

‘I then realised he was interested in my dog so I told him to (go away).

‘He continued to ask if the dog was mine, and then (said): “I want it”.’

Charlene scooped up Nellie and fled before calling 101 when it was safe. The man had followed in the car.

She said he was of ‘big build’ with a ginger beard and was wearing a cap when it happened at around 6.30pm on January 22.

Charlene said: ‘It was very frightening and I won’t be walking out at this time again.’

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It comes after a ‘reluctant hero’ dog owner fought of knife-wielding would-be thieves in Knowle Road, Knowle, on January 2.

Social media has been rife with concern about dog thefts.

The issue has been raised to Hampshire’s Police and Crime Panel by member Lee Hunt, a city councillor.

‘It's a worrying issue being increasingly highlighted on social media with many upset and anxious owners,’ he said.

Hampshire police said the incident in Fawcett Road has been classed as a suspicious incident.

A spokeswoman said: ‘A man in a blue car pulled up alongside her on Fawcett Road and asked to look at her dog. He also asked what the breed was before following her along the road.

‘A woman and two small children were reported to be in the car with the man at the time.

‘The matter has been filed pending any further information.

‘Anyone who witnesses anything suspicious in their local area is encouraged to contact police on 101.’

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