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Stolen French bulldog and 15 puppies rescued from dognapper

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El Che, a 2010 Westminster Kennel Club award winning French bulldog, and 15 puppies stolen on NewYear's Eve were found Saturday and have been safely returned to their home in Miami report

Marcelo Cicuta, the owner of the dogs, had been attending a New Year's Eve celebration, and when he returned, discovered his Miami home had been broken into and that his prize dog, El Che, worth $50,000 and 15 puppies valued at $30,000 had been stolen.

The puppies came from two litters; some were only 16 days and the others were 27 days old.

Authorities said the dogs had been stuffed into a pillowcase when removed from Cicuta's home.

Through media reports and Crimestopper leads, Vigil Phillip Birch, 29, was arrested and charged with 16 counts of grand theft and 16 counts of dealing in stolen property. Birch, who has had prior experience in the dog breeding world with Cicuta, told the Miami Police that he paid $2,200 for the puppies and had intended to sell them. He had taken eight of the puppies to a home in North Lauderdale to raise them until they were old enough to be sold.

Although the puppies are worth far more than what Birch had allegedly planned to sell them, their value would have been greatly reduced without AKC papers.

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