Puppies stolen by force in Harrisonville while woman’s kids were in car

Police have shared pictures of the persons of interest.
Two pit bull puppies were stolen during an exchange at a Harrisonville gas station, while the...
Two pit bull puppies were stolen during an exchange at a Harrisonville gas station, while the breeder's young children were present.(Amanda Marquis)
Published: Jul. 9, 2022 at 1:22 PM CDT
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HARRISONVILLE, Mo. (KCTV) - Harrisonville police are looking for two people wanted in connection with a strongarm robbery of two puppies from a woman at a Harrisonville gas station this week.

Police said they are looking for Melanie and Donnell Mendez in connection with a Thursday incident in which a breeder was in an exchange with a buyer before two men came up and stole the dogs away.

Amanda Marquis, a dog breeder based in Hickory County, MO, an hour and a half southeast of the Kansas City metro, said she was contacted by the proposed buyer, who expressed interest in buying two dogs. They set up a meeting place at Sapp Bros Travel Center in Harrisonville for the buyer to see a few potential pit bulls, since the buyer lives in the Kansas City metro. While Marquis was showing the prospective buyer the animals, two men in surgical masks came up and aggressively began asking Marquis to take the dogs out of their kennel, Marquis said.

Once the two men were able to get their hands on two of the dogs, they took off with the animals. The prospective buyer also ran off, Marquis said.

Marquis said the value of the pit bulls stands at around $2,000 each, but the money is secondary to the fear instilled by the incident, as Marquis’ two young children were in the vehicle at the time and are worried the suspects will return, she said.

The Harrisonville Police Department and City of Harrisonville both shared some information on the incident on their Facebook pages, showing a picture of Donnell and Melanie Mendez and asking for the public’s help in finding them. In the posts, the police and city refer to the Mendez’s as persons of interest in the theft of two American pit bull puppies. They asked the public to contact the police department if they have any information, at 816-380-8940.

A Facebook account belonging to a Melanie Mendez responded directly to the police department’s Facebook post, saying, “This is false information...I don’t have her dogs. I’m being accused of something I didn’t do, and I’m not even gonna reply anymore bc I already talked to the sheriff and the lady herself blocked me the one saying I supposedly took her dogs.”

Harrisonville police told KCTV5 on Saturday they are still searching for the two persons of interest in the case, and have not yet been able to speak with them or find them.

KCTV5 reached out directly to Melanie Mendez, but we have not heard back yet. To this point, neither Mendez appears to have been charged with a crime.

A photo of Donnell and Melanie Mendez, shared online by the Harrisonville Police Department and...
A photo of Donnell and Melanie Mendez, shared online by the Harrisonville Police Department and the City of Harrisonville.(Harrisonville Police Department)