ROCKLEDGE, Fla. – A salesman going door-to-door in Rockledge last week is accused of stealing a dog from a resident’s front yard, according to police.
Officers said 19-year-old Ethan Morales, of Alabama, is facing grand theft and animal cruelty charges after picking up and walking off with a Jack Russell mix on Oct. 20.
An arrest affidavit shows Morales approached 528 Glenbrook Circle around 2:40 p.m. that day and walked off carrying the dog, which the owner valued at $1,500. Morales then returned to the house about an hour later and tried to sell solar equipment to the dog’s owner, according to the affidavit.
Police said the owner asked Morales if he had seen or knew the location of the dog, to which he replied, “No, have a blessed day,” and left. A neighbor later showed the victim video of the suspect walking off with the dog without permission, according to officers.
The owner told News 6 on Monday watching the neighbor’s video made her fear for the safety of her dog, Angus.
She said Angus was not wearing his collar when Morales took him.
“I was scared he was going to do something evil,” she said.
When police later asked Morales about the dog, he denied knowing its whereabouts before eventually confessing to placing the Jack Russell mix in his friend’s vehicle so it could be shipped off to a shelter, the affidavit continues.
According to the affidavit, however, Morales’ friend instead took the dog to his mother’s home in Palm Bay.
The owner said she believes Morales may have been trying to sell her dog.
She said after finding Angus in Palm Bay, police were able to bring the dog home seven hours after he went missing.
“When he got home, he was a little skittish and he kind of whimpered,” she recalled.
Now, the owner hopes the teen suspect learned a lesson.
“He’s 19 years old. This is no way to start out life,” she said.
As much as the owner said Angus enjoys being left outside alone, she will never let that happen again.
Police added that Morales not returning the Jack Russell mix to its home “overloaded the dog with undue stress.”
Morales was booked in the Brevard County jail, where he was being held on a $2,500 bond.
Records show he bonded out before his first appearance before a judge.
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