Over the past week, Broward County has had a slew of home and car burglaries, the most prominent leading to the death of a disabled dog who was comforting its owner during cancer treatments.
Wilton Manors police said the burglaries began Sunday. On Wednesday, they arrested a 17-year-old, whom the Herald is not identifying as the person is a minor, and Jephthe Jean Francois, 19, in connection to them, police say.
On Sunday morning, police responded to a residential burglary that had just happened. A witness told police they saw two people burglarize the person’s home. Later that night, the robbers returned and stole a car, police said.
Detectives were able to figure out what car the alleged robbers were driving and recovered the stolen car.
On Tuesday evening, Wilton Manors police responded to another residential burglary. The person’s home was ransacked and multiple items were stolen. The victim showed to police surveillance video of two people committing the burglary, police said.
Detectives connected the two incidents.
On Wednesday morning, police received yet another call of a residential burglary still in progress and in the same area as the Tuesday burglary. Police responded and found Francois and the 17-year-old.
The two sped away and police chased them. The chase ended when the alleged robbers’ car lost control and crashed into the front yard of a home. Police arrested the pair and took them into custody.
Detectives recovered stolen items that linked both to other crimes in other areas.
Police linked Francois to the theft of Wanda Ferrari’s car and the death of her disabled dog, Zorra, police said.
The car theft happened on Oct. 3 in a Dollar Tree parking lot in Oakland Park. Ferrari had parked her car in a handicapped spot and went into the store. When she returned, about 10 minutes later, the car was gone along with Zorra, a Husky mix dog who required a wheelchair to walk and was strapped in the back seat, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said.
Sheriff’s deputies received a tip from a towing company that it removed an illegally parked car from the Boardwalk at Inverrary apartments in Sunrise. It was Ferrari’s stolen 2005 Volvo and Zorra was found dead inside, deputies said.
While the cause of Zorra’s death is undetermined, deputies believe she died of a heat stroke.
Ferrari told Local 10, “I really needed Zorra to go through this bout of cancer with me. She’d been through the last one with me, but they said they were doing everything that they possibly could and would continue to do what they definitely could do to make sure this person comes to justice.”
The 17-year-old is facing 20 charges, ranging from car theft to burglary, on a $72,225 bond.
Francois is facing 19 charges, ranging from burglary to causing cruel death to an animal, on a $109,800 bond.