BROOKSVILLE — Two Brooksville men thought to be suspects in the theft last week of five dogs from the Humane Society of the Nature Coast were arrested over the weekend.
According to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, Juan Claudio, 26, surrendered to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office on Saturday. The other suspect, Jose Navarro, 20, turned himself in to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office on Sunday. Both are charged with commercial burglary.
According to a Sheriff's Office report, deputies following up on a tip discovered two of the puppies in the 16000 block of Fullington Road and then began a neighborhood search looking for the other stolen dogs.
When a woman answered the door at 16161 Fullington Road, a deputy noticed a small brown dachshund that matched the description of one of the stolen dogs. Deputies learned from the woman, identified as Jennifer Kores, that her husband, Juan Claudio, and his cousin, Jose Navarro, brought four dogs home late Wednesday, but did not tell her where they had gotten them from.
When Claudio and Navarro left the home, she let the dogs out of the house but kept the dachshund inside.
Navarro later told deputies that he went over the fence of the facility at Wiscon and Mobley roads with the help of Claudio, who then crawled under the fence.
He told deputies that they took four dogs at random, which included the puppies and one of the small dogs. He saw another small dog running around but did not take him. Claudio told deputies they took the dogs to sell because Navarro owed a man some money.
On Friday, an adult dog discovered missing from the shelter after the burglary was found dead in the street outside the facility, apparently the result of being hit by a car. The two puppies and the dachshund were returned to the shelter Friday.
A tan pit bull/chow puppy and an older female pit bull that was taken in a July burglary have not been found.