When Margo the now-famous cockapoo was stolen from her home near 14th and D streets NE last Thursday, no one could have imagined she had something in common with her captor: They both were fitted with electronic devices to track their whereabouts.
While Margo has an embedded microchip in case she is lost or stolen, the alleged dog thief, a ward of the District’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, similarly is outfitted with a GPS tracking device that allows authorities to keep tabs on him, according to labor officials who represent DYRS employees.
The theft shocked area residents, who responded in a flurry of tweets and the hashtag #findmargo, and the dog’s owner, Eric Peterson, said he was confident she would be located. After responding to a tip that Margo could be found in an apartment on Benning Road NE, D.C. police arrested 19-year-old Reshawn Devonta Peay, who also is alleged to have stolen a TV, two iPads, and a computer—-along with Margo’s leash.
Peay, who court records confirm is a DYRS ward, was charged this week with second degree burglary in the theft and has a preliminary hearing on Feb. 4. He is a suspect in burglaries dating to Dec. 3, according to news reports.
Wards of DYRS being connected to burglaries and other more violent crimes is a persistent problem in the District, which has limited facilities for housing and rehabilitating youth offenders and is forced to place them in community settings with GPS devices affixed to their ankles.
While it’s unlikely that Peay knew of Margo’s microchip, a DYRS labor representative said the youth had to have known the GPS device strapped to his ankle would make it difficult for him to deny having been in Peterson’s home at the time of Margo’s disappearance.
“Have you heard of anything so stupid?” the official said.
Peay could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Jeffrey D. Stein did not immediately return a call.