Robbers Raid L.A. Pet Stores for Pricey Little Dogs

Tiny purebreds are a top item on many holiday wish lists this year. The challenge might be buying a dog that's legally cleared for sale — and holding onto it.

In Los Angeles, tactics once reserved for bank holdups and jewelry store heists are now being used in an ongoing rash of pet store robberies. Police say the city is on the leading edge of a growing national crime trend: Robbers know they can make big bucks selling the designer pooches.

Pocket-size dogs are more popular than ever in the United States. This year, for the first time, the noble golden retriever has been knocked from the top two spot on the American Kennel Club's Most Popular list. The replacement? The Yorkshire Terrier, a little dog that fetches a disproportionately huge price — sometimes more than $2,500 dollars.

One store in the Los Angeles area lost $30,000 worth of pedigreed puppies in two separate robberies this month alone. Earlier this year, armed robbers burst into a pet dealer's home and took four purebred Yorkies at gunpoint.

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