Two North Carolina Men Charged in Gunpoint Robbery of Puppies from Lancaster County Breeder
PHILADELPHIA – First Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Christopher Lamont Stimpson, Jr., 22, and Wilbert Curtis Trey Artis, III, 29, both of Greensboro, North Carolina, were arrested and charged by Indictment with robbery which interferes with interstate commerce, interstate transportation of stolen goods, and aiding and abetting, as a result of their alleged October 29, 2020 gunpoint robbery of a Lancaster County puppy breeder and theft of five French Bulldog puppies [see attached photo] valued at more than $23,000.
Stimpson and Artis are charged with posing as customers seeking to purchase five French Bulldog puppies allegedly in order to steal the puppies at gunpoint. One of the victims recorded the registration of the defendants’ getaway vehicle, which was traced back to a rental company in Greensboro, North Carolina. According to court documents, a customer of the breeder who had also been interested in purchasing one of the puppies later discovered an Instagram posting which featured a video and a photograph of the puppies, as well as photographs of Stimpson and Artis.
On December 8, 2020, both defendants were arrested by the Greensboro (North Carolina) Police Department on the bench warrants which had been issued in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. On January 4, 2021, during a virtual initial appearance in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania before the United States Magistrate Judge Henry S. Perkin, Stimpson was ordered to home confinement pending trial. Artis made a virtual initial appearance before Judge Perkin today and was ordered to home detention pending trial.
“Robbery at gunpoint is always a severe crime, and in this case the defendants are charged with stealing living creatures at gunpoint – puppies - and transporting them across state lines,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Williams. “These are serious federal offenses which will be strenuously prosecuted by this office. We are thankful to our partners here in Pennsylvania and in North Carolina for their swift investigation and apprehension of these defendants.”
“This wasn't just some dognapping caper, it was a violent armed robbery that saw the victim menaced at gunpoint,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. “We're glad the FBI and our partners could help safely recover the pups, and determined to see the perpetrators held accountable.”
“The quick apprehension of these individuals is a prime example of how well interagency cooperation between municipal and federal law enforcement agencies work,” said Ephrata Police Department Chief John E. Petrick. “The Project Safe Neighborhoods program allows for a law enforcement agency to coordinate an investigation with other law enforcement partners hundreds of miles away without delay.”
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 30 years’ in prison and a $500,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Ephrata Police Department, and the Greensboro (NC) Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark S. Miller.
An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.