Police find puppy taken by food delivery driver, suspect charged

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published January 8, 2021

 Lindsey Ruth Jones, 26, of Warren, faces a larceny in a building charge after she allegedly stole a puppy from a Warren home during a DoorDash delivery on Jan. 2.

Lindsey Ruth Jones, 26, of Warren, faces a larceny in a building charge after she allegedly stole a puppy from a Warren home during a DoorDash delivery on Jan. 2.

Photo provided by Ashley Swinton

 Bella, a nine-week-old “American bully,” was taken from a home. She was located by Warren police  and returned unharmed on Jan. 4.

Bella, a nine-week-old “American bully,” was taken from a home. She was located by Warren police and returned unharmed on Jan. 4.

Photo provided by Ashley Swinton

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WARREN — A puppy allegedly swiped from the enclosed porch of a Warren home by a food delivery driver has been returned to its family, and the suspect is now facing a felony larceny charge.

Ashley Swinton, 34, said she contacted Warren police after her 9-week-old dog, Bella, was taken during a DoorDash food delivery to her home on Rivard Avenue, near Mile Road and Van Dyke Avenue, at about 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 2.

“I had placed an order with DoorDash and the person that actually came out to deliver my food dropped off the food on my enclosed porch,” Swinton said. “That’s where I had my dog.”

Swinton said she was in the bathroom when her fiancé called to tell her that the food was delivered.

“When I went out to get the food, it dawned on me. Where’s my dog? Maybe the dog got out of the door,” Swinton said.

A review of the security images captured on the porch showed more than that. She said she learned that the delivery person wasn’t a registered DoorDash driver, but someone the “Dasher” apparently permitted to make the delivery instead. The images appeared to show the suspect petting and walking away with the dog.  

“She came on the enclosed porch. I guess she’d seen my dog and was like, let me steal her,” Swinton said. “There were cars in the driveway. To me it seemed that this is something she normally does. You can see on the camera, she was really comfortable with it.”

Swinton said she got the dog as a gift for her kids two days before Christmas and that seeing it taken during a food delivery was unsettling to everyone in the home.  She said she contacted DoorDash and the police.

Detective Brian Price of the Warren Police Department said he reached out to the company when he was assigned the case on Jan. 4 and that they were able to provide information that led him to the suspect. He located the woman, later identified as Lindsey Ruth Jones, 26, of Warren, at a home, with the dog, near 11 Mile Road and Van Dyke.

“She admitted to stealing the dog,” Price said.

He confirmed that Jones wasn’t a registered DoorDash driver, but that she and another driver may have operated some type of a joint account.  

Price said the security images were a “huge” part of not only solving the case, but of identifying it as a crime in the first place.

“It goes from a missing dog that happened to run away, to a felony case,” Price said.

He said finding the dog was “extremely rewarding.”

“It (the case) landed on my desk at about 8 o’clock in the morning. It was nice to get the dog back around 2 o’clock or so,” Price said. “I don’t believe they ever thought they’d see their dog again, to be honest with you.”

Jones was arraigned before Judge Suzanne Faunce in the 37th District Court on Jan. 6. She was charged with one count of larceny in a building, a four-year felony. She said little during the arraignment but commented when the judge inquired about the DoorDash delivery instructions and whether or not the charge could eventually be amended to a more serious charge of home invasion.

“I just want to say that the drop-off instructions were to go inside the house,” Jones said.

Bail was set at $25,000 ahead of her next scheduled court appearance, a probable cause conference on Jan. 19. Jones requested a court-appointed attorney.

A DoorDash spokesperson issued the following statement on Jan. 6.

“Immediately upon learning of the incident, we took appropriate actions including working with local law enforcement to help support their investigation, and permanently deactivating the Dasher from our platform. We sincerely regret that this incident fell short of the experience we strive to give our customers every day and have reached out to apologize to the customer.”

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