By David Goldstein

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The dogs sell for $5,000 and up and are so popular experts say thieves are targeting French bulldogs.

SPCA-LA president Madeline Bernstein says what happened to Lady Gaga’s dogs could have been a crime of opportunity.

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“Stealing these dogs, sometimes it’s safer than robbing a bank to steal a dog from a person walking a dog and there’s a lot of cash value to those dogs,” she said.

That’s because cute and cuddly French bulldogs like these sold legitimately on the internet sell for big bucks. This one we found close to $7,000 – and that brings out the thieves.

Last month two armed robbery suspects were arrested after Riverside County Sheriff’s say they met with a woman who was selling a French bulldog online, only to steal the dog at gunpoint.

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And a few weeks ago security video in North Hollywood shows thieves running off with two bulldog puppies from someones house.

Bernstein– who wrote a book on the popularity of designer dogs– says they’re Instagram cute and that’s why people want them. But between the high price and the pandemic there aren’t as many available to the average person.

“The business has slowed like every other business so there are fewer of them so now it’s more lucrative to steal them,” she said.

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And along with the high prices that those dogs command come serious charges. Anyone convicted for theft of an expensive animal will face the possibility a felony charge.

David Goldstein