By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
A teenage Palisadian was walking his family’s two French bulldogs with a friend in the Huntington neighborhood on the evening of Friday, March 5, when he said a suspect demanded from a car that the boys turn over the dogs, according to information in a police report and later shared around the community by the family.
“[The] suspect brandished [a] knife at [the] victim and demanded victim’s dogs,” LAPD Officer Jae Lee shared from the police report. “[The] suspect fled [the] location northbound on Toyopa Drive.”
Speaking to the Palisadian-Post on Monday evening, March 8, 14-year-old Cole Kaller’s mom Dana explained the incident her son was involved in was interrupted by a person she described as a “good Samaritan” heading toward the Village area to pick up dinner when they noticed the boys appeared to be in trouble.
“As the good Samaritan passed by, he very smartly drove by very slowly and made eye contact with at first the assailant and then my son,” Dana explained. “My son basically locked eyes with this driver and was pleading with his eyes for help and he got it—he got the memo.”
Dana said that when the assailant saw the person intervening, they drove off and the boys were able to return home with the dogs.
LAPD reported the incident took place at the intersection of Corona Del Mar and Toyopa Drive at 5 p.m., with Dana adding that it was close to Altata Drive, as the boys were coming home from a park area off Corona Del Mar.
After the Kaller family shared their story on Nextdoor, neighbors noticed similarities between this incident and what happened to Lady Gaga’s dog walker in Hollywood in late February. Two of her French bulldogs were stolen by suspects who shot and wounded the walker, LAPD reported, with the dogs returned unharmed on Friday, February 26.
“As of now, there is no evidence that shows the two incidents are related,” Lee said on Tuesday morning, March 8.
The vehicle the suspect was reported to be driving was described as a red Dodge Charger with out-of-state license plates, but “based on the suspect description written in the report, there isn’t enough information to provide specific/additional information of the suspect,” Lee told the Post.
Dana shared that she had warned Cole about one week before the incident to be extra aware while walking the dogs, as she has always heard that people might want to steal French bulldogs.
“I feel like there’s a glitch in the Matrix—I really do,” Dana shared about the incident taking place just one week after the warning message. “I feel like we’re supposed to become aware of that and do something about it, and I’m not sure what that is, but the first thing I want to do is tell the story … and tell my neighbors and tell everybody because we want to take care of each other, we want to take care of what we have.”
Dana encouraged anyone in the community who might have footage of the suspect or vehicle to share with LAPD.
“If there is any further information that the community members can assist detectives with, they can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or they can contact the West Los Angeles Station Front Desk,” Lee said.
The phone number to reach the West LA Station is 310-444-0702.
Part of the reason Dana is sharing her family’s story is to prevent future incidents from taking place in the Palisades, so that members of the community are aware and can protect themselves.
“I’m struggling to try to figure out how we solve this issue together,” Dana shared. “It’s very complicated, it’s a complicated issue. I do think as a community we need to band together.”
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