PAW PAW – A 23-year-old Oklahoma woman is facing a felony theft charge after stealing a an exotic bully breed dog valued at $5,000 from a Paw Paw rest stop, the Illinois State Police said.
Kathleen E. Barker, of Okmulgee, Okla., was arrested Sept. 5 on suspicion of stealing Diablo, a male, brown-black 30-pound dog with short legs, similar in appearance to a pit bull, from the southbound Interstate-39 Willow Creek Rest Area, according to an ISP spokesman.
Diablo is valued at approximately $5,000.
Troopers responded to a report that Diablo had "inadvertently freed himself from his owner's parked vehicle" and was taken from the rest area by another motorist, the spokesman said.
A description of Barker and Diablo was shared with neighboring law enforcement, and both were stopped by ISP troopers on Interstate-39, near La Salle County.
Diablo was reunited with his owner.
Barker was released on a recognizance bond. Her theft charge, a Class 3 Felony, carries a punishment of 2 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
According to the American Kennel Club, the bully breed covers a variety of bull dog-terrier cross breeds, including American pit bull terriers, bull terriers and French bull dogs.
They were first bred in the mid-1800s for dog fighting, bull baiting and badger baiting.