FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. – A woman in Flagler Beach is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from residents who believed they were paying her for a down payment on a puppy, according to police.
Flagler Beach police said at least five victims have reported being scammed by Carissa Marie Sarno, who they say they either made made partial or full payments to because they believed they were buying a puppy from her.
Police said once the victims paid Sarno, she would stop talking to them.
“To date, a total of five victims have come forward and advised that they either made down payments on puppies or paid for puppies in full,” police said in a news release. “When it came time to deliver the puppies, the suspect either failed to show up for delivery or stopped all forms of communication with the victims.”
Sarno was arrested Wednesday and charged with scheme to defraud, grand theft and four counts of petit theft, according to the release. She was taken to the Flagler County Jail, where her bond was set at $7,000.
“Plainly put, the suspect in this case pulled on the heartstrings of her victims. People love puppies because they spark joy. This suspect preyed on her victims by taking their money and their hopes of owning a loveable puppy," Flagler Beach Police Chief Matt Doughney said. “I’m extremely proud of the teamwork displayed by Detective Vinci and our Patrol Officers who worked in unison in order to hold this suspect accountable for her unlawful actions.”
Police said Sarno has collected at least $2,000 from victims using the alleged puppy scheme but officers believe there may be more victims.
“We’d like to thank the public for their valuable assistance on this case via our Facebook page," Doughney said. “We anticipate that this news release may bring forward additional victims and we want any/all victims to know that coming forward takes courage.”
Police are asking anyone who thinks they may have fallen victim to the puppy scheme to call Flagler Beach Detective Vinci at 386-517-2020, extension 307.