A Frenchie was taken at gunpoint. His owner set up a sting to get it back. (2024)

Jaineen Brown stood tucked in the bushes Saturday night, her eyes trained on the Papa John’s across the street. She had told the person demanding she pay $1,000 to reunite with her stolen French bulldog to meet her at the pizza store at the intersection of Pennsylvania and Alabama avenues in Southeast Washington.

Inside, she said, she knew an undercover police officer was waiting.

Her nightmare had begun a week before, around 8 p.m. on June 29, when she decided to take her 2-year-old French bulldog, Yurman, on a walk.

The two were walking in the 1700 block of Fort Davis Street SE, Brown said, when a car screeched to a halt nearby. Someone jumped out and waved a gun in her face, and she dropped Yurman’s leash. Brown said her assailants grabbed Yurman by the back of his neck, got in the car and drove away.

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A Frenchie was taken at gunpoint. His owner set up a sting to get it back. (1)A Frenchie was taken at gunpoint. His owner set up a sting to get it back. (2)

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Brown had not brought her phone on the walk; she said she ran home screaming to call 911. But she worried that wasn’t enough to guarantee Yurman’s safe return.

“I called 911, but I felt like I still needed something to do, so I went live on Facebook screaming and crying and doing the best I could to tell people what I knew,” Brown said in an interview Sunday. “I was crying my heart out but spread the word on social media very quickly.”

Authorities in the District and around the country have reported numerous thefts of French bulldogs, which can sell for several thousands of dollars. In November, three were taken at gunpoint as they were being walked near the 5200 block of East Capitol Street SE, according to police. Brown said people had unsuccessfully attempted to steal Yurman four times before.

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In the days after Yurman was taken, Brown said, she received photos from people who spotted French bulldogs, but not one of them was hers. Then she started receiving calls from an unknown number. The person on the other end claimed they had her dog. Brown asked for a photo. It was him.

In Brown’s telling, the caller said they bought Yurman for $2,000 — not knowing he had been stolen — from someone who claimed to not be able to take care of the dog. They said they wanted to return him but needed money to offset the $2,000 they spent.

“We can work something out,” the person said in a text message to Brown. “I’m a Dog lover I have multiple dogs an I’ve been in your same shoes before unfortunately the people here are just cruel.”

Brown said she suggested they turn the dog in to law enforcement and claim the $10,000 reward D.C. police had offered to anyone who provided information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who took Yurman. The person, though, insisted they did not want to involve law enforcement, Brown said.

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Brown said she told police what had happened, then coordinated with them to stage a sting operation, inviting the people with her dog to meet her at Papa John’s and even trying to delay them from arriving too soon by claiming she was stopping at multiple ATMs to gather cash.

Around 8 p.m. Saturday, in the pizza shop’s parking lot, police arrested 27-year-olds Raphael Lambert Loundermon II and Khaliah Johnson, both of Southeast, on charges of extortion and receiving stolen property.

Then a team of seven officers with D.C. police’s Violent Crimes Suppression Division, whom Brown fondly nicknamed the “paw patrol,” returned Yurman home.

Defense attorneys for the two people who had been charged were not immediately listed in online court records available Sunday afternoon. They are not charged with robbery, according to police, and Brown said she has some fear that the person who put a gun in her face is still out there.

Yurman, she said, appears uninjured but exhausted. He has been loving the media attention on the case, she said, wearing his Jimmy Buffett Parrothead shirt for interviews and taking lots of naps.

“It was like I could breathe,” Brown said of his return. “It was like I can finally exhale. He’s home.”

A Frenchie was taken at gunpoint. His owner set up a sting to get it back. (2024)

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