After a month-long investigation into a reported dog theft at Sunnybrook Park, Toronto Police say the claim was made up – a Montreal man gave his dog away and then made up an elaborate scheme to get the pup back.
On June 18, Toronto Police asked for the public's help in investigating a brazen dog-snatching incident at Bayview Avenue and Blythwood Road.
Police said they received information that a man who claimed on Kijiji to be a professional dog trainer met a woman in Sunnybrook Park. Police were told the man grabbed the woman's dog and took off in a navy-blue pickup truck.
On Wednesday, however, police revealed that they had received false information. Michael Bragali, 29, from Montreal, is now wanted on a charge of public mischief.
According to police, Mr. Bragali had a change of heart after giving his dog away to a Toronto man through a classified ad. He allegedly travelled to Toronto with a female friend who helped him file the false information, in hopes of finding the man with the dog. The young woman is a minor who "has been cautioned," but will not face charges.
"It turns out this whole story was concocted," said Constable David Hopkinson.
"We're talking about a three-week investigation where we could be looking for real bad guys," he said. "We released a description of this man who had the dog. Imagine if somebody had taken it upon themselves to go and remove the dog from him in a violent manner."
Eventually, officers found the man and got his version of events. Police now believe the dog is in Mr. Bragali's possession after he met up with the man he was looking for and took his dog back.