A case from the summer of 2021 — one of a spate of high-profile robberies involving French bulldogs in the Bay Area — is finally hitting a courtroom in San Mateo County, and it was not a random theft.
We heard about the case in late July 2021, after armed robbers allegedly stormed a South San Francisco motel room a month earleir and violently stole an eight-month-old French bulldog named Prada. The South San Francisco Police Department discovered the dog up for sale on the internet in Fremont, and set up a sting operation, ultimately nabbing three 20-year-old suspects and returning Prada to her owner.
Seven suspects ultimately were arrested in the case, two of whom remain in custody with the others out on bail. As KRON4 reports, prosectors allege that the armed robbery was orchestrated by 22-year-old Rocio Navarro Flores, the ex-girlfriend of the robbery victim, a San Francisco man who is not being named. Navarro Flores allegedly enlisted the help of gang members she associated with, who also used a female friend of theirs as bait in an elaborate scheme.
"Suspects utilized a female associate to text [the] victim over three weeks to try and meet him," prosecutors say. "Victim eventually provided his current location at The Travelodge Hotel [in South San Francisco]."
After knocking on the victim's hotel room door, the female associate allegedly stepped aside as four suspects stormed the room when the door opened. An initial report posted to Facebook by police said that one of the suspects "punch[ed] one of the victims for several minutes" and used "a metal object to strike his head."
The suspects then stole the victim's cellphone, car keys, and Prada, the puppy. It's unclear who the second victim was.
The dog was later put up for sale, and was identified by the victim via a photo. As you've likely heard, French bulldogs can fetch thousands of dollars, as they are in high demand here and elsewhere.
In addition to Navarro Flores, six other individuals have been charged in the case: Froylan Armenta Jr., Angel Dionicio Orozco Cisneros, Vanessa Barrera, Brianna Raquel Toney Herrera, Marco Antonio Martinez, and Alexandra Salamanca.
The suspects appeared in court in San Mateo County Wednesday for a preliminary hearing, as KRON4 reports, and a judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to move forward to trial.