Woman arrested in theft of French bulldog that left victim clinging to hood of car

Authorities have arrested a woman on suspicion of stealing a French bulldog in downtown Los Angeles last month in an incident that gained attention when onlookers filmed the victim clinging to the hood of a car as it sped away with her dog, Onyx, inside.

Police arrested Sadie Slater, 21, of Los Angeles, in connection with the crime, according to a news release from the Los Angeles Police Department.

Onyx was not recovered as of Saturday afternoon, but detectives were still conducting interviews, police said.

Ali Zacharias’ heartbreak began Jan. 18 when she was on a lunch break with Onyx at the Whole Foods on Grand Avenue near 8th Street, she told The Times in an interview. Onlookers were watching the 44-year-old interact with her dog: a black-and-white-speckled French bulldog a little over a year old with different colored eyes, the left blue and the right green.

The next thing Zacharias knew, she said, a woman had picked up Onyx and was walking away with him.

Zacharias said she attempted to follow the woman into a car — a white Kia Forte that held four people — before being pushed out. That’s when she stood in front of the car in an attempt to stop it, then fell onto the hood as it drove forward, she said.

She rode atop the hood for a short way before the car swerved and she rolled off. She was bruised and cut but not badly hurt, she said.

Video of the ordeal was posted on Instagram and widely shared.

French bulldogs are one of the most popular small-breed dogs in the world, according to the American Kennel Club, “especially among city dwellers.” They’re known for their square heads, “bat” ears and charming disposition. Expensive and in high demand, the dogs have been a favorite target of thieves in recent years in the L.A. area.

Two of Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs were stolen in February 2021, and her dog walker was shot and wounded during the heist. The woman who recovered them and later sued — trying to claim the $500,000 reward — was found to be involved with the dognappers. More recently, thieves stole 12 purebred French bulldogs, including a 10-month-old show dog named Roll X, from a Gardena pet shop.

Slater was taken into custody late Friday in Inglewood by members of the LAPD gang and narcotics division and U.S. Marshals’ fugitive task force, according to investigators. She was booked on suspicion of robbery and remained jailed Saturday in lieu of $70,000 bail, jail records state.

Zacharias has offered a reward for her beloved pet's safe return.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.