Man sentenced to prison for stealing 5 puppies at gunpoint from breeder in Lancaster County [Update]

Nov. 23—A North Carolina man has been sentenced in federal court to 6 1/2 years in prison for stealing five French Bulldog puppies at gunpoint from a Lancaster County breeder and his family.

Christopher L. Stimpson Jr., 24, of Greensboro also was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Edward G. Smith to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,660 in restitution, officials said in a release Wednesday.

Stimpson was convicted in April of robbery that interferes with interstate commerce (Hobbs Act robbery) and interstate transportation of stolen goods in connection with the robbery.

Officials confirmed the breeder is Mountain Top Kennels in Ephrata Township. They said the Ephrata Police Department assisted in the investigation.

According to the release:

In October 2020, Stimpson posed as a customer seeking to buy five French Bulldog puppies, with a total value of more than $23,000. He pulled a gun, pointed it at the victims and stole the animals.

One of the victims recorded the license plate of the getaway vehicle, which was traced to a rental company in Greensboro.

A customer of the breeder who also had been interested in buying one of the puppies later found an Instagram posting that featured a video and photograph of the puppies, as well as photographs of Stimpson.

Stimpson was arrested in North Carolina in December 2020.

"The defendant threatened a family at gunpoint inside their own home in order to greedily and callously steal vulnerable, living creatures," U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero said. " Our office is committed to prosecuting dangerous, armed criminals, no matter where they may run and hide. We are thankful to our law enforcement partners here in Pennsylvania and in North Carolina for their assistance in bringing Stimpson to justice."