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Major John Allard, PIO Office, 785-2415, 24-Hour Press Box: 799-2001, Ext. 1100

Deputies Arrest Three Women for Stealing Puppy from Animal Adoption Center

Lexington County Sheriff’s Department deputies on Wednesday, July 17 arrested a 26-year-old Leesville woman, 22-year-old Aiken woman and 19-year-old Gilbert woman on charges that the three women stole a six-week-old, black-and-white beagle-mix puppy from an animal adoption center on Orchard Drive near West Columbia on July 9.

Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said the three women turned themselves in at the Lexington County James R. Metts Law Enforcement Complex, 521 Gibson Road, Lexington, on Wednesday afternoon on arrest warrants on a charge of petit larceny. Amanda Kay Cirmella, 26, of 630 Lawson Road, Leesville; Megan Marie Howard, 22, of 1140 Sandy Springs Road, Aiken; and Brittany Leigh Yontz, 19, of 37 Canvasback Road, Gilbert, each were being held Wednesday at the Lexington County Detention Center while awaiting bond hearings.

Arrest warrants allege that at about 12:32 p.m. on July 9 Yontz, who was accompanied by Cirmella and Howard, entered the animal adoption center at Pets, Inc. at 300 Orchard Drive and illegally removed the beagle-mix puppy, Metts said. Yontz, Cirmella and Howard left the animal adoption center without making arrangements to adopt the puppy and pay the adoption fee. Statements from witnesses and surveillance camera video substantiated that the three women stole the puppy from the animal adoption center.

The beagle-mix puppy was returned to the Pets, Inc. animal adoption center earlier this week, Metts said. Yontz, Cirmella and Howard are friends who attend the same cosmetology school.

Deputies are continuing to investigate the improper removal of a white-and-brown Saint Bernard puppy from the Pets, Inc. animal adoption center on July 8, Metts said. The puppy was returned to the animal adoption center earlier this week. Deputies are pursuing leads concerning the identities of the persons who improperly removed the puppy from the animal adoption center.

Metts asked anyone with information concerning the improper removal of the Saint Bernard puppy from the animal adoption center to contact the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department at (803) 785-8230 or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. Citizens also can provide information anonymously by accessing the Crime Tip link on the Sheriff’s Department web site (


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