A suspect was behind bars Friday in connection with a dog found dead inside a stolen minivan in Studio City, police said.
The suspect was arrested around 7:45 p.m. Friday in the 4100 block of Whitsett Avenue, one block north of Ventura Boulevard, said Officer Cleon Joseph of the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations Section.
He was taken into custody in a parking lot outside the Weddington Golf and Tennis Club, which is where the van was abandoned, after he was spotted by the dog's owner, KCAL9 reported.
A KCAL reporter was interviewing the owner, Nayo Mateo, when Mateo saw the man and called police.
The station identified the suspect as 29-year-old Danny Frist, a transient known to frequent the area.
Frist would be booked on suspicion of animal cruelty, Joseph said.
The minivan was stolen around 3 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Whitsett Avenue, said Lt. Todd Hankel of the Los Angeles Police Department's North Hollywood Station.
The vehicle was located around 5 p.m. Monday in the 4100 block of Whitsett Avenue, near where it was taken, and the dog was found dead inside, Hankel said.
The minivan's owner said he went into a store to get his wife and young daughter and walked out to find the vehicle gone, along with his 10-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, Maru, according to broadcast reports.
The dog had been asleep in the back seat of the minivan, which had its engine and air conditioning running, Mateo told police.
When the minivan was found, the windows were rolled up and a subsequent examination found the dog died of heat exhaustion, police said.
Mateo said his family raised the dog from a pup.
He had some parting words for Frist.
"I just told him he's going to pay for what he did," Mateo told KCAL9.
Two animal welfare groups had offered rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect in the case.
Mutt Match L.A. offered $2,000 and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals offered $5,000, according to the LAPD.
--City News Service