Lured victim with promise to purchase popular $2,500 puppy DOGNAPPERS ASSASSINATE BULLIE BREEDER!
AMERICA’S rising wave of heartless dognappings hit a frightening fever pitch when an elderly breeder was shot dead during the planned sale of a highly prized French bulldog puppy!
Lonnie A. Ray, of Darlington County, S.C., was mercilessly murdered outside a KFC restaurant along Interstate 20 in Bishopville on Feb. 6 in a tragedy that’s rattled dog owners across the nation. In an online deal, the 76-year-old agreed to sell the puppy for $2,500. Instead, he was shot at least three times by multiple assailants who left his bullet-riddled body bleeding in a parking lot while making off with the dog.
“They grabbed the leash and opened fire,” Lee County Sheriff Daniel Simon tells The National ENQUIRER.
Ray had survived battle in Vietnam and a bout with cancer before falling prey to the coldblooded thugs.
“He thought that he was just going to make a sale of a dog,” says Simon. “He not only lost the French bulldog, but also lost his life in the process.”
Ray was said to be cautious and experienced in such sales and brought along a 77-yearold pal, who managed to dodge the fusillade of lead and escape unscathed.
The bloody episode is the latest in a long line of dog thefts that have rocked American pet lovers. In one case just days before Ray’s death, a brazen thief swiped a Maltipoo from an L.A. pet store and pepper-sprayed the owner when she gave chase. As The ENQUIRER recently reported, the American Kennel Club reports dognappings have skyrocketed an incredible 598 percent since 2008, with French bulldogs, German shepherds, Siberian huskies, Labrador retrievers, Yorkshire terriers and Shih Tzus as the he breeds most likely to be targeted.
“Some of these dogs go for as much as $10,000!” says New York–based pet detective Angel Nieves.
He believes the violent 2021 theft of Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs in Hollywood has inspired plenty of criminals. Gaga’s dog walker was shot on the street, but her pups were returned after a police probe. “Suddenly, thieves became aware of how much money they could make with a successful robbery,” he tells The ENQUIRER.
Nieves, who operates Your Pet Detective, speculates the gunmen involved in Ray’s death likely scouted out their victim b before cruelly setting sett him up for the th theft.
“Online buying usually spells bigtime trouble,” warns Nieves. ““With the little in information we hav have, [Ray’s case] sound sounds like a gang of hoodlums, h rather than an organized crime ring, who tried a robbery and something went wrong. Otherwise why open fire at two aging men in the middle of a public parking lot?”
MOVIE mobster Robert De Niro won’t whack his nearly 40-year grudge against Hollywood rival Mickey Rourke — even though pals are begging the cranky Casino wiseguy to forgive and forget, sources snitch.
“Mickey wants to shake hands, but Bob hasn’t mellowed and refuses to make peace,” spills an insider. According to tipsters, the pair’s feud dates back to 1987’s Angel Heart. Rourke, 70, felt he was snubbed by snobby De Niro, 79, who refused to talk to him on the set!
The former boxer confides,
“It hurt my feelings a little bit ’cause I looked up to him.” Rourke has also accused the Goodfellas screen goon of getting him bounced from 2019’s The Irishman, claiming he’d talked with director
Martin Scorsese about a role in the crime drama — but De Niro iced it!
“A lot of people have begged
Bob to bury the hatchet. They feel sorry for Mickey and think Bob shouldn’t be so hard on him,” blabs the insider. “But Bob’s stubborn, and once you get on his blacklist, you’re on it for life. Why Mickey got on that list to begin with is a mystery, but some dogs just don’t like other dogs.” However, the spy dishes d if anyone has reason rea to be bitter, it’s Rourke! R
“Everyone around them believes Bob ruined Mickey’s chances of starring in The Irishman, though he’ll likely deny it to the day he dies,” squeals the insider. “People think it’s a shame. These two old geezers are more alike than they know, but only Mickey has a forgiving heart!”