The woman who returned Lady Gaga’s stolen French bulldogs was among five people arrested in connection with the theft and shooting of the singer’s dog walker, Los Angeles police said Thursday.
Detectives do not believe that the thieves knew the dogs belonged to the pop star, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement. The motive for the February 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 Mr Fischer and one pulled a gun and fired a single shot before fleeing with two of the dogs, Koji and Gustav.
The video captured Mr 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 a police station by a woman who originally appeared to be “uninvolved and unassociated” with the crime, police initially said. It was not immediately clear if the woman, identified Thursday as 50-year-old Jennifer McBride, received the reward.
Ms McBride turned out to be in a relationship with the father of one of the suspects, police said Thursday.
Police arrested James Jackson, 18; Jaylin White, 19; and Lafayette Whaley, 27, on Tuesday on suspicion of attempted murder and robbery.
Mr White's father, 40-year-old Harold White, and Ms McBride were arrested on suspicion of accessory attempted murder. Mr Jackson, Mr Whaley and the Whites are all documented gang members, according to the police.
The five suspects were charged Thursday by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. It was not immediately clear if they had attorneys who could speak on their behalf.
All five were being held on $1 million bail each, online jail records show.
Lady Gaga did not immediately address the arrests on her social media accounts Thursday afternoon. Mr Fischer and Lady Gaga's representatives did not respond to requests for comment.