Two arrested, charged with theft –
By Patricia Beech –
Two women from the Peebles area were arrested Sunday, Jan. 21 after Adams County Sheriff’s Deputies, acting on a tip, discovered a stolen dog in their possession.
Molly Salser, 26, and Olivia Yost, 27, were charged with theft and tampering with evidence, a felony three crime, after deputies removed 16 dogs from their mobile home on Jones Road near Peebles.
According to Deputy Randy Walters, the investigation started a few weeks ago when the Adams County Sheriff’s Office received a report about a missing dog named Charlie whose owners believed he had been stolen.
While investigators were looking into Charlie’s disappearance, Cora Crothers of Peebles reported seeing two women she believed to be Yost and Salser driving around a nearby neighborhood. She told WXIX Channel 19 that the two tried, but failed, to lure her relative’s dog into their car.
“As soon we saw her bending down and calling for it [the dog], we knew exactly what she was trying to do,” Crothers said.
Hours later, the investigation led deputies to the women’s mobile home, where they found Charlie and 16 other dogs there.
Walters said investigators are working to determine whether any of the 16 remaining animals are missing or stolen.
“It’s still not clear whether any of the dogs actually belong to the two women,” he said. “We’re encouraging people to check out the photos of the dogs on Facebook to see if they recognize any of the animals.”
WXIX also reported that witnesses have come forward with information that indicates Yost and Salser may have been planning to sell stolen animals for a profit. And, social media posts show that in recent years Yost has at least attempted to sell dogs online, at prices ranging from $100-$500.
“We may find somebody who thought their animal had gotten killed or ran off when it actually had been stolen,” Walters told the TV crew. “We suspect that the other [dogs] may potentially be the same – somebody else’s animal that they have taken.”
Authorities are looking into the possibility that the women may have sold stolen dogs in the past.
Yost has a criminal history in Highland County that could play a role in this case. According to the county dog warden, she was charged with animal cruelty and placed on probation with the stipulation that she may not own or possess any animals through September of 2018.
Walters said several dog breeds were taken from the property including chihuahuas, miniature terriers, pit bulls, huskies, and a hound dog. Two of the recovered dogs have microchips.
“We’re still trying to track down the owners,” he said, “It’s possible one of the dogs with a chip belongs to the women, but we’re checking on that too.”
The dogs are now being housed at the Humane Society and county Dog Kennel in West Union.
Adams County Dog Warden Donnie Swayne said none of the animals appeared to be malnourished.
“We’ve had almost two dozen people come through the kennel today looking for lost animals,” Swayne said on Monday. “If these dogs do not belong to these ladies, we want to find the rightful owners and return their pets.”
The Sheriff’s Office is asking that if you recognize any of the dogs that were recovered, and they belong to you or you know the owners, please contact the Adams County Dog Pound at (937) 544-2431 or the Adams County Humane Society at (937) 544-8585.
If your dog is recovered, and you want to pursue charges, contact the Adams County Sheriff Office at (937) 544-2314.