LOS ANGELES – The woman who returned Lady Gaga’s stolen French bulldogs was among five people arrested in connection with the theft and shooting of the music superstar’s dog walker, Los Angeles police said Thursday.
Detectives do not believe that the thieves initially knew the dogs belonged to the pop star, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement. The motive for the Feb. 24 robbery, investigators believe, was the value of the French bulldogs — which can run into the thousands of dollars.
The dog walker, Ryan Fischer, is recovering from a gunshot wound and has called the violence “a very close call with death” in social media posts. He was walking Lady Gaga's three dogs — named Asia, Koji and Gustav — in Hollywood just off the famed Sunset Boulevard when he was attacked.
Video from the doorbell camera of a nearby home shows a white sedan pulling up and two men jumping out. They struggled with Fischer and one pulled a gun and fired a single shot before fleeing with two of the dogs, Koji and Gustav.
The video captured Fischer’s screams of, “Oh, my God! I’ve been shot!” and “Help me!” and “I’m bleeding out from my chest!”
Lady Gaga offered a $500,000 reward — “no questions asked” — to be reunited with the dogs. The singer had been in Rome at the time filming a movie.
The dogs were returned two days later to an LAPD station by a woman who originally appeared to be “uninvolved and unassociated” with the crime, police initially said. The woman, identified Thursday as 50-year-old Jennifer McBride, had reported that she’d found the dogs and responded to an email address associated with the reward, police said.
McBride turned out to be in a relationship with the father of one of the suspects, the LAPD said Thursday. It was not immediately clear if she had received the reward.