Naperville police Cmdr. Jason Arres confirmed Wednesday that a $50,000 warrant has been issued for the arrest of Benjamin Ocasio Jr., 27. He last lived on the 200 block of Spruce Street in Aurora.
Ocasio has been charged with retail theft in connection with the Sept. 4 incident at Petland in the Fox River Commons shopping center, near Aurora Avenue and Route 59.
Video surveillance tape filmed about 4:21 p.m. that day showed a man and a woman walking out of the Petland with Bella, a 12-week-old, black and white, female Pomeranian dog valued at $2,500.
Ocasio and a 27-year-old female relative were quickly identified by police from the tape. Arres said both were interviewed in the days and weeks following the alleged theft.
“The investigation led to (Ocasio) being charged with the crime,” Arres said. “The facts of the case led to only Ocasio being charged … (while) the female who was with him will not be charged with the crime.”
Using statements and other information gleaned during the investigation, police began looking for the puppy, which the pair claimed to have abandoned in the backyard of a home near New York and Root streets in Aurora.
Despite “extra effort” by police that Arres said included posting fliers, canvassing parts of Aurora and working with Aurora police, the puppy is still missing. “However, we remain hopeful at some point the dog will turn up,” he said.
An examination of court records revealed Ocasio is scheduled to appear Nov. 16 in Kane County Circuit Court in connection with an alleged June burglary in Aurora.
He also was convicted in 2011 of drunken driving and was sentenced in 2014 to 150 days in jail for domestic battery, according to records.
Petland owner Carl Swanson was not available for comment. A recorded message at a number listed for Ocasio said the phone did not accept incoming calls.
A Naperville Crime Stoppers reward of up to $1,000 for information about the dog’s whereabouts remains unclaimed. Crime Stoppers can be contacted at 630-420-6006 or www.napervillecrimestoppers.com, and callers can remain anonymous.