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Police say Orem woman kidnapped and tried to sell neighbor’s dog

(Photo Credit: KSL)

OREM – A bizarre dognapping case in Orem lands a woman behind bars.  Police say she stole her neighbor’s dog, then tried to sell it through online classified ads.

The probable cause statement says the victim woke from a nap on the Fourth of July when one of her dogs was barking.  She went to check out what was happening and noticed that her dog, Maya, was gone.

“The owner searched for the dog for about 30 minutes before they called us,” according to Orem Police Lieutenant Craig Martinez.

An officer was sent and saw the door had been forced open and the locking mechanism was broken.  He then told the victim to check online classified ads to see if anyone was trying to sell Maya.  Turns out there was an ad that was placed very quickly after the dog disappeared.  Martinez says the ad was posted before officers had even arrived.

“We’re looking at somewhere between 35 and 45 minutes and when our victims looks online, the ad was 35 minutes old,” he says.

The officer called the number on the ad and arranged to meet the seller, Kortnie Benson, at the same apartment complex where the dog was taken.

“Sure enough, a few minutes later, here comes our suspect walking with this dog on a leash.”

The officer took Maya and returned her to her owner.  Martinez says Benson claimed she tried to find the dog’s owner by posting a message on Facebook, but, investigators determined that wasn’t true.

“She’s claiming she was outside having a smoke and this dog walked up to her and wouldn’t leave her alone.  She says she thought, ‘It’s not my dog and it doesn’t have a tag and nobody cares about it, so, I might as well sell it,’” Martinez says.

Benson has been booked for theft, criminal mischief, and child abuse after police found unsafe and unsanitary conditions in her home.  Martinez says she was not booked for burglary since they can’t prove she’s the one that broke into her neighbor’s apartment.

Benson reportedly admitted she tried to sell the dog for $50 because she needed the money.

(Contributing, Pat Reavy, Deseret News)