Police: Online puppy scam leads to complaints about Aspen ’dog breeder’
Unbeknownst to everyone in Aspen, a dog breeder has set up shop at the base of Shadow Mountain.
Using puppy pictures that only a heartless old cur wouldn’t melt over, the alleged breeder has baited the internet hook and told customers as recently as last week that their beagles, dachshunds and King Charles spaniels would be shipped from an address in the 700 block of South Monarch Street, according to Aspen Police Department reports. Police have visited the site and confirmed it is a residence and not a business, said Aspen Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn.
“You know what the popular kind (of dog for sale on the sites) is? Cute,” said Linn. “All are super adorable-looking and the sweetest puppies you could ever imagine.”
They even have cute names like “Rosie” “Ricky” and “Neo,” and come with individual pictures, prices and other details.
The problem is the address on South Monarch Street is a nondescript apartment building in a residential neighborhood near Lift 1A at the base of Aspen Mountain, and the adorable puppies never show up in the mail.
“They’ve scammed people from all over the country,” Linn said Friday. “No one locally has been scammed.”
In the last month alone, seven different people from Arizona to New Jersey have called Aspen police to report losing up to $850 each in the apparent scam from websites called amandasbeaglepuppies.com, gabrielladachshundpuppies.com and genevaskingcharlesworld.com, according to police reports. And that doesn’t include four or five other similar reports that came in before Aspen officers realized they had a pattern on their hands, Linn said.
But because no one in Aspen has been affected, Aspen police have nothing to investigate and have been referring people who call to their local police departments to file reports.
“We have no legal standing to pursue an investigation,” Linn said.
The first documented report of the alleged puppy scam came in to APD on March 23 from a woman in Clearwater, Florida, who said she purchased a dog online from “someone” in Aspen on Monarch Street. No other details of the sale were included in the report.
The next report occurred April 9, when a woman from a location not specified in the report said she paid $550 for a King Charles spaniel puppy plus $250 shipping from genevaskingcharlesworld.com. She was provided a package tracking number, the address of the alleged breeder on Monarch Street in Aspen and assurances the dog would arrive the next day.
The woman then received an email from the shipping company saying she needed to pay $900 more for a “thermal shipping crate,” which prompted her to call Aspen police, according to the report.
Two days later, a man in Maryland reported a similar experience with genevaskingcharlesworld.com. On April 13, a New Jersey woman reported paying $850 for a dachshund puppy from gabrielladacshundpups.com and being told the dog would be shipped from the Aspen address. She was later asked for another $1,000 in shipping costs, which made her balk.
An Arizona woman called APD on April 15 and reported buying a beagle puppy from rachelbeaglepuppieshome — which has since been blocked — that would be shipped from Monarch Street in Aspen. When she called the Aspen post office after the seller said she was having shipping problems, the Aspen post master told her they don’t ship live animals, according to a police report.
On Sunday, a woman in Spokane, Washington, became suspicious when a representative of amandasbeaglepuppies.com told her the beagle puppy she bought for $580 was being held in Boise, Idaho, due to weather and needed a $950 heated crate. The woman had checked the weather and found out it was 60 degrees in Boise, according to the police report.
The latest report came in Monday from residents in New Mexico who said they’d paid $650 for a dog from amandasbeaglepuppies.com and never received it.
Emails sent Friday to amandasbeaglepuppies.com and gabrielladachshundpups.com seeking comment were not returned. Genevaskingcharlesworld.com was blocked on Friday and labeled a scam.
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.