Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dogged Detective Work Collars Suspect

CCSO detectives arrested a man Wednesday in connection with an extortion plot involving North Naples resident Andrea Michna's 3-year-old Samoyeds. Ava, right, and Snowdot remain missing. If found, please call Michna at 847-436-0440. A reward is offered. Photo courtesy of Andrea Michna

A canine con man was arrested Wednesday and charged with attempting to extort thousands of dollars from a North Naples woman in exchange for her two lost dogs.

Dathan Charles Cyr, 43, 4239 27th Court, Golden Gate, is charged with extortion, a felony.

The canine caper began Monday when Andrea Michna of North Naples received a text message from a phone number she didn’t recognize, asking if she was still looking for her two lost dogs. Michna's two white Samoyeds, 3-year-old Ava and Snowdot, went missing on April 14 after they got loose in the Pelican Marsh community. Michna placed advertisements in local publications and passed out fliers offering an unspecified reward for the dogs.

Michna responded to the text saying that she was still looking for her dogs. A series of texts from the suspect followed. The suspect claimed to be a “Latina” female named Diana who lived in Immokalee. The suspect claimed to have the dogs.

The suspect threatened to shoot the dogs if Michna did not pay him $8,000 cash.

CCSO was contacted.

Detectives coordinated a plan to put a leash on the suspect. A meeting with the suspect was arranged.

On Wednesday an envelope was dropped off at a location in the city of Naples chosen by the suspect.

The suspect was then advised by text that the envelope with the cash had been dropped off. Cyr responded to the location within five minutes and retrieved the envelope.

Cyr was taken into custody by deputies who were waiting nearby.

A cell phone was in plain view in the center console of Cyr’s car. A detective called the phone number that the suspect used to call Michna and the phone in Cyr’s car began to ring.

Cyr was placed under arrest. He confessed to the crime in an interview with detectives.

Michna said she is glad the ordeal is behind her.

“It was a very cruel thing to do to someone who is missing their dogs,” Michna said. “It was an awful thing to go through.”

She remains hopeful Ava and Snowdot will be found. Both dogs have their names and contact information embroidered on their collars, she noted.

“They’ve run away before and have always come back,” Michna said. “I really think someone picked them up.”