By Zachary Fagenson
MIAMI, Florida (Reuters) - A Miami man returned from a New Year's Eve celebration to find his prize French bulldog and two litters of puppies, valued at $80,000, stolen from his home, police said.
The missing dogs include El Che, who is named after Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara and won awards at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 2010 and the French Bulldog Club of America National Specialty Show in 2009, according to owner Marcelo Cicuta.
While Cicuta was ringing in the new year at a friend's kennel, thieves broke into his house and likely used a pillowcase to carry the dogs away, police said.
The 15 stolen puppies are 16 and 27 days old, Cicuta said on Friday. A third litter of five puppies and two older female dogs were left behind.
French bulldogs - the third-most commonly stolen breed in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club - can fetch up to $2,500 each.
The police report valued El Che at $50,000 and his offspring puppies at $30,000. But the dogs' worth is far lower without papers proving their pedigree, the kennel club said.
"Breeders do a lot of research of pedigrees to look at ancestors and their traits," American Kennel Club spokeswoman Lisa Peterson said on Friday. "These criminals figure they'll steal these dogs, sell them below market value, and make a quick buck."
(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Gunna Dickson)