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May 7, 2014

Post on popular Facebook page leads to return of stolen dogs

CHICKASHA — Two stolen English bulldogs were returned to their owner Tuesday after they were recognized in a post on the OKC Buy, Sell, Trade Facebook page.

Grady County Deputy Ryan Lake said he noticed a post by the dogs' owner, Tiffany Claunch, on the new Purcell area yard sale Facebook page about two missing English bulldogs, one white and one brindle.

Lake said he also found a post by Justin Garver on the OKC Buy, Sell, Trade page about two English bulldogs that matched Claunch's description for sale at $600 each. Lake said he took a screenshot of the ad and asked Claunch if she recognized them.

Claunch replied, "Yeah, those are my babies," so he advised her to call Purcell Police and arrange to buy the dogs.

"I was very relieved," Claunch said. "My daughter was more ecstatic than any of us because they were her dogs."

Purcell Detective Corporal Scott Stephens said he met with Claunch at the police station about the stolen dogs and Claunch told him she had a friend talking to the suspect on Facebook to arrange to buy the dogs.

Stephens said Claunch had her friend give the suspect his unidentifiable phone number and they agreed to meet at a Shamrock gas station in Purcell for the exchange.

The number Claunch texted to arrange the meeting was later found to belong to Garver's girlfriend, Samantha Hobbs, according to the incident report.

Stephens, Claunch, Purcell Police Sgt. Todd Carpenter and Purcell Police Detective Kevin Austin drove to the Shamrock station and parked the car out of view, Stephens said.

A vehicle matching the description the suspect gave arrived and the driver, Joshua Turnpaugh, exited the car with the dogs. Stephens said he ordered Turnpaugh to put the dog down and place his hands on top of the car to be handcuffed.

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