The people who allegedly stole Lady Gaga’s two French Bulldogs in February and opened fire on her dog walker have been arrested.
Jennifer McBride, the woman who “found” the Frenchies, Gustav and Koji, in an alley and brought them to a police station just days after their disappearance, was also arrested, with footage of the pooches’ return becoming key evidence, according to TMZ. Police had advised the pop star not to pay the $500,000 reward she had advertised for the canines’ repatriation. Lady Gaga’s father Joe Germanotta suggested to The Daily Beast on Thursday night that the $500,000 reward money was never given out, per police instruction, but said he couldn’t attest to that.
Germanotta said he was “proud of the LAPD for staying with it and not giving up.”
“Hopefully, the prosecutors won't let them back out on the street again tonight,” he said.
He said that he immediately suspected something was off about the return of the dogs. He indicated that a member of the dognapping crew had first called the reward hotline Lady Gaga had set up, rather than going straight to the police.
“I thought it was extremely unusual that when somebody finds a dog, the first thing they think to do is call a phone number, not 911 or 311,” he said. “I just thought it was fishy as hell.”
Police don’t believe the suspects knew that the dogs belonged to Lady Gaga. “Evidence suggests the suspects knew the great value of the breed of dogs and [that] was the motivation for the robbery,” Los Angeles Police wrote in a statement. French Bulldogs have become a hot commodity in recent years, with a single pup fetching up to $10,000.
TMZ first reported the news, and the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed to The Daily Beast that five people were arrested in total on Tuesday: James Jackson, 18, Jaylin White, 19, Lafayette Whaley, 27, Harold White, 40, and Jennifer McBride, 50. They are expected to be arraigned in court Thursday. The three younger suspects are all gang members, police said.
Jackson, Jaylin White, and Whaley were charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit robbery, and second-degree robbery. Harold White and McBride were charged with accessory attempted murder. Harold White, Jaylin’s father, “had a relationship” with McBride, connecting the alleged dognappers to the dogs’ supposed savior, according to police.
Jackson faces two other charges: assault with a semiautomatic firearm and a felon carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle. Jaylin White faces an additional charge of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. Harold White was also charged with possession of a firearm, and McBride was additionally charged with receiving stolen property.
LA County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement, “This was a brazen street crime that left a man seriously wounded.”
On February 24, as Lady Gaga, real name Stefani Germanotta, was in Italy working on a film, multiple people pulled up beside her dog walker Ryan Fischer, told him to give up the pooches, and, when he would not, shot him several times.
Fischer spent weeks in the hospital but has since been discharged with a good prognosis.
According to TMZ, cops believe that the dognappers freaked out when they realized the dogs belonged to someone so famous, so they opted to cash in on the reward rather than try to resell the dogs.
Pilar Melendez and Cheyenne Roundtree contributed reporting.