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Vehicle Stolen at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda with Dog Inside; Suspect Arrested and Dog Reunited with Owner

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, January 6, 2021

On Tuesday night (January 5), officers responded to a parking garage at the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda for the report of a vehicle that had been stolen with a dog inside of it.  Officers reviewed mall surveillance video and observed the suspect trying the door handles of multiple vehicles to see if they were unlocked.  The suspect was seen stealing the victim’s SUV, which was left running and unattended.  Auto theft detectives began to investigate the theft and work to identify the suspect.


Yesterday afternoon, (January 6), as the suspect attempted to turn in the dog to the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center as "stray", an Animal Services employee recognized that the dog looked very similar to a dog that had been reported as stolen in a social media post.  The employee also noted that the vehicle the suspect had driven to the adoption center matched the description of the vehicle reported as stolen during the same incident.

Officers were called to the scene and the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Malik Gillispie of Germantown, was arrested and charged with motor vehicle theft.  Detectives noted that Gillispie was wearing the same clothing he was wearing in the mall surveillance video (when he stole the SUV).

The dog, Joey, was reunited with his family.  

This incident is a reminder to all of us to never leave our vehicles running and unattended.  We’re happy that Joey is back home with his family!


**Click (original image) on photos to enlarge

Reunion: Joey and his ownersReunion: Joey and his owners (Original Image)


(L to R) Officer C. De Sousa - one of the responding officers to adoption center, Two owners, Animal Services Field Supervisor Jeanette Wright, Animal Services Officer Sarah Ogrin - stalled the suspect until police arrived, Animal Services Customer Service Representative William Eisenbarth - recognized the stolen dog(L to R) Officer C. De Sousa - one of the responding officers to adoption center, Two owners, Animal Services Field Supervisor Jeanette Wright, Animal Services Officer Sarah Ogrin - stalled the suspect until police arrived, Animal Services Customer Service Representative William Eisenbarth - recognized the stolen dog (Original Image)




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Release ID: 21-009
Media Contact: Sergeant Rebecca Innocenti 
Categories: theft