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      Pit bulls stolen from Columbia animal shelter

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) - Officials with the Columbia Police Department are investigating two separate incidents involving stolen pit bulls at the City of Columbia Animal Shelter.

      The first theft occurred at 127 Humane Lane between Sunday, Jan. 29 and Monday, Jan.30.

      A worker arrived at the shelter and noticed several pit bulls were missing from their kennels. Police believe the suspect or suspects attempted to steal at least eight pit bulls but got five.

      A second, similar theft occurred between Sunday, Feb. 5 and Monday, Feb. 6.

      A worker at the shelter noticed several dogs were missing from their kennels. A total of six pit bulls were stolen, including a pregnant one.

      Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says he thinks the thieves took the dogs to use them for fighting. Lott says the thieves probably figured it was easier to steal the dogs than buy them.

      The Columbia Police Department is currently working with Animal Shelter employees on proactive ways to ensure the safety of the current animals that are housed at the facility.

      Animal services superintendent Marli Drum says she can't talk about the thefts, referring questions to police.

      Chief Scott encourages citizens with information about these incidents to call, text or submit online, their anonymous tip to Crimestoppers in any of the following ways:

      CALL toll-free: 888-CRIME-SC.

      TEXT to CRIMES (274637), and mark the beginning of the message with "TIPSC,â?? followed by the tip information.

      Log onto the Crimestoppers Website: Click on the red "Submit a tip" tab

      Tipsters could earn a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.