The FBI is reportedly investigating whether the dognapping of Lady Gaga’s bulldogs was politically motivated because she sang at President Joe Biden’s inauguration last month.
According to The Sun, FBI agents who specialize in kidnapping and ransom cases are working with the Los Angeles Police Department to find out ‘exactly what motivated this incident’.
A source familiar with the incident told the news outlet: ‘Lady Gaga is high profile of course but she sang at President Biden’s inauguration which takes this case to another level.’
The revelation that Gaga’s dogs could have been ‘stolen for ransom’ comes just hours after horrifying video showed the moment her dog’s walker, Ryan Fischer, was shot in the chest in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
Fischer was ambushed outside his home on West Hollywood’s Sierra Bonita Avenue as he walked Gaga’s dogs Koji, Miss Asia, and Gustav just before 10pm.
Surveillance footage captured from a neighbor’s home shows a white sedan pulling up alongside the 30-year-old, and two people climbing out of the back seat. One of the attackers is heard cocking a pistol as they storm towards Fischer, warning him to ‘give it up’.
A struggle ensues between Fischer and the two attackers on the ground. The dog walker is heard shrieking ‘no’ and calling out for someone to help him as he attempts to protect the bulldogs from the attackers. A single gunshot can then be heard and Fischer screams in pain.
The assailants then pile into the back of the sedan holding Koji and Gustav. Miss Asia, who managed to escape from the dognappers is seen running back over to Fischer who is lying on the ground.
Fischer was shot in the chest but is expected to survive. Police say he was conscious and communicative when they arrived on scene.
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The FBI is reportedly investigating whether the dognapping of Lady Gaga’s bulldogs was politically motivated because she sang at President Joe Biden’s inauguration (pictured January 20)
Surveillance footage captured from a neighbor’s home shows a white sedan pulling up alongside the 30-year-old, and two attackers, dressed in dark clothing, climbing out of the back seat
LAPD Capt. Jonathan Tippet confirmed that Fischer was shot once but said he’s expected to survive
Ryan Fischer, 30, had been walking Gaga’s beloved dogs Koji, Miss Asia and Gustav, in West Hollywood at around 10pm yesterday night when he was shot. He is pictured receiving medical treatment
Fischer (left with Gaga’s dogs just days before the attack) had been caring for the three dogs while Gaga is away in Rome, Italy, working on a new Ridley Scott movie. He’s said to be a family friend
Gaga’s dogs, Koji and Gustav, were stolen. Miss Asia was later recovered by police (shown above)
Police described one of the suspects as a male, dressed in a black hat and black hooded sweatshirt. The second suspect’s gender is ‘unknown’, police say, but they too were wearing all black clothing.
Gaga, 34, is said to be distraught over the incident and is offering a $500,000 reward for the return of Koji and Gustav ‘no questions asked’, TMZ reported.
But former FBI Agent Frank Montoya Jr slammed the star’s decision to DailyMail.com on Thursday, saying her reward has not only put the LAPD’s investigation at risk, but opened up a market for criminals to start stealing celebrity dogs and returning them for high ransoms.
The neighbor whose camera captured Wednesday night’s shooting only agreed to release the footage after receiving word from Gaga’s team that the singer wanted the video to be widely shared to help catch those responsible, TMZ reported.
The LAPD hasn’t yet commented as to whether they believe Wednesday’s attack was targeted. Other thefts of French bulldogs have been reported recently in Los Angeles.
Fischer, who runs a social media account called Valley Of The Dogs, had been watching Gaga’s French bulldogs while she’s away filming a new Ridley Scott movie in Rome, Italy.
Just six days ago, Fischer had posted a video to Instagram of him singing to Gaga’s pups, and tagged Miss Asia’s official Instagram page. He has previously posted images of the dogs on a number of other occasions.
Gaga is pictured above with her beloved dogs Koji, Miss Asia and Gustav in a posts previously shared to Instagram
Gaga’s bodyguard later picked up Miss Asia from the Hollywood LAPD Station in the hours after the shooting
French bulldogs are in high demand and sell for anywhere between $3,000-$5,000. Those with pedigree lineage can also go for as much as $10,000.
In the surveillance video, Fischer’s is seen walking in front of a home along the 1500 block Sierra Bonita Avenue when a white sedan comes to an abrupt halt beside him, and two suspects jump out from the back seat.
One of the suspects lunges towards Fischer knocking him to the ground. Over a period of around 15 seconds, Fischer grapples with the two attackers over the dogs while screaming for someone to help him.
‘Koji, no!’ Fischer cries out as one of the attackers pulls him away from the dogs and towards the sidewalk.
The attackers then jump back into the sedan, making off with Koji and Gustav. One of the dogs can be heard yelping and growling as it’s taken.
Miss Asia, however, somehow managed to escape and is seen running over to Fischer’s side. For more than a minute, Fischer lays on the sidewalk calling out for help. ‘I’ve been shot. Oh my god, I’ve been shot!’ he repeats. ‘Please help me.’
Eventually, a resident from a nearby home hears his cries and races outside to call the police. ‘I’m bleeding out of my heart, of my lung, I’m bleeding out of my chest,’ Fischer tells the bystander.
‘They stole two dogs, they’re Frenchies – they’re Lady Gaga’s dogs!,’ he says.
Fischer is heard crying out ‘no’ and shrieking out in horror for someone to help him as he attempts to fend off the assailants, as they appear to be grappling with him over the dogs on the ground
Meanwhile, the two attackers pile into the backseat of the sedan, holding two of the dogs, Koji and Gustav, before driving away
Gaga’s Dad Says Family is Devastated by Dognapping of Koji and Gustav
Lady Gaga’s father says the family was shocked and saddened to hear that the pop star’s two French Bulldogs had been kidnapped after their walker was shot by an assailant in Los Angeles late on Wednesday night.
‘We’re just sick over it, it’s really horrible,’ Gaga’s dad, Joe Germanotta, told the New York Post.
‘It’s like someone took one of your kids.’
Earlier on Thursday, Germanotta, who owns a restaurant on the West Side of Manhattan, told Fox News that he is ‘so upset right now’, and confirmed that Fischer is a ‘family friend’.
‘Our whole family is upset and praying Koji and Gustavo are not harmed,’ he said.
‘Shooting someone in order to steal dogs is wrong.’
Germanotta then pleaded to the public to help ‘catch these creeps’.
He told the Post that he has spoken to his famous daughter, who is currently in Italy filming a movie, ‘several times’ about the incident.
Germanotta said he told Gaga: ‘Just try to be strong and remember that they’re together.’
‘They’re comforting each other,’ Germanotta said of the two dogs.
Another witness, Buck Angel, who also came out of his home to help Fischer told Entertainment Tonight on Thursday that he ‘100 percent’ believes the attack was targeted.
‘I think 100% targeted – for sure. First off because in this neighborhood we have a lot of celebrities – it’s a celebrity neighborhood, number one.
‘Number two, I walk my dog at 11 and 12 o’clock at night and it’s safe here, it’s totally chill. How would anyone know that [Fischer] was walking those dogs at [that exact time].’
The LAPD told DailyMail.com that they are seeking at least two suspects.
The assailants fled the scene northbound on Sierra Bonita Avenue in a white vehicle and remain at large.
Video captured by KABC showed Fischer lying on the sidewalk and clinging to Miss Asia as first responders treat him.
The pooch was then swaddled up in a blanket and taken to the LAPD’s Hollywood headquarters. One of Gaga’s bodyguards collected her from the station shortly afterwards.
A friend of the victim, Steven Lazaroff, has voiced his shock over the incident and said Fischer loved Gaga’s dogs ‘unconditionally’.
‘I’m not sure if those people knew whose they dogs were, and it’s even more devastating the dogs’ mom just landed in Rome yesterday to start filming for a movie and she can’t even be here,’ he told Fox 11.
‘I haven’t heard from [Fischer] yet … I just tried to go to the hospital but they weren’t accepting visitors.
‘He would die taking a bullet for those dogs. He loves those dogs unconditionally. He’s always with them 24/7.’
The LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division has taken over the investigation.
The RHD is responsible for investigating the highest-profile cases in LA.
It’s currently unclear whether Gaga’s dogs were specifically targeted (Pictured: Gaga poses with Miss Asia in an Instagram post
Witness Buck Angel, who also came out of his home to help Fischer told Entertainment Tonight on Thursday that he ‘100 percent’ believes the attack was targeted
An Instagram post from 2017 shows Gaga and her three dogs as they celebrated Koji’s second birthday. ‘Happy Birthday Koji you’re 2 years old! we love you!’ Gaga wrote
Ryan Fischer was shot once outside of his home in West Hollywood on Wednesday night as he was walking Gaga’s three dogs
The location of the shooting is shown in the above map. It happened outside a home in the 1500 block if Sierra Bonita Avenue
Representatives for Lady Gaga – real name Stefani Germanotta – have not yet returned a request for comment on the shooting or theft of the star’s dogs.
Sources told TMZ that anyone in possession of the dogs can email KojiandGustav@gmail.com to organize returning the pets in return for a $500,000 ‘no questions asked’ reward.
But Frank Montoya Jr., who worked in the FBI between 1991 and 2016 after serving in the army, slammed the move to DailyMail.com on Thursday, saying that Gaga’s reward has not only put the police’s investigation at risk but could also inspire a spike of celebrity dognappings.
‘It’s always been an option for opportunistic criminals. But…paying, no questions asked, can open up a Pandora’s box of sorts. She should give the investigation a chance.
‘After all, the dogs notwithstanding, a human being was shot,’ Montoya said.
Los Angeles-based Attorney Louis Shapiro, however, disagreed saying he didn’t believe the hefty sum would encourage others to commit similar crimes and instead suggested it could be a ruse to help catch the assailants.
‘This is an unusual reward amount,’ Shapiro told DailyMail.com. ‘We don’t really know if this $500k reward is in fact a no questions asked offer. There’s no contract made here. It could just be a ruse to lure in whoever did this.’
While Gaga is yet to speak publicly about the incident, her family members have told the media that she is distraught.
Video from the scene captured by KABC showed Fischer lying on the sidewalk and clinging to Miss Asia as first responders attended to him
Fischer had been caring for the three dogs while Gaga is away in Italy
RESCUED: Miss Asia is collected from LAPD’s Hollywood precinct by one of Gaga’s bodyguard on Wednesday night
Fischer, 30, was shot once and is expected to survive his injuries, according to Los Angeles Police Capt. Jonathan Tippett.
Gaga’s father, Joe Germanotta told Fox News that entire family is ‘so upset right now’, and likened the dognapping of Koji and Gustav to ‘like losing one of your children’.
‘Our whole family is upset and praying Koji and Gustavo are not harmed,’ he said. ‘Shooting someone in order to steal dogs is wrong.’
Germanotta then pleaded to the public to help ‘catch these creeps’.
He later told the Post that he has spoken to his famous daughter ‘several times’ about the incident over the phone.
Germanotta said he told Gaga: ‘Just try to be strong and remember that they’re together. They’re comforting each other.’
Also Thursday, Gaga’s grandmother, Angeline Germanotta, told the Daily News that she is praying is praying for Fischer, who is a friend of the family.
‘It’s a cruel world we’re living in,’ she said. ‘I’m praying this young man recovers, and I hope the dogs are found safe and in good health.’
The 90-year-old continued: ‘The family is devastated. We’re all so upset because the dogs are two trusting animals, and why would anyone want to do something like this and seriously hurt that young man? It’s awful.
‘I’m always devastated by anything bad that happens to my granddaughter. She’s a very unique and wonderful young woman. She cares a great deal about all her animals.’
Joe Germanotta (left), the father of Lady Gaga, said on Thursday that the family is ‘upset’ and ‘sick’ over the ‘horrible’ dognapping of the singer’s two beloved French bulldogs. The two are seen above in New York in January 2018
Tara Bruno, founder of SNORT Rescue, an organization that rescues bulldogs, pugs and Boston terriers, told People that French bulldogs are among the most stolen dog breeds because they’re very popular, are small and portable, and are expensive.
French bulldogs from reputable breeders cost between $3,000 and $5,000, she said.
According to the American Kennel Club, French bulldogs are the fourth most popular breed in the United State, behind Labradors, golden retrievers and German shepherds.
However, French bulldogs are easier to steal , Bruno says, because they are much smaller.
‘The motive is resale. Thieves know they can get a couple thousand dollars for them,’ she told the outlet.
Lady Gaga seen above yesterday) is currently in Rome shooting a new movie. Her representatives have not yet spoken about the shooting of Fischer
Gaga is pictured with Koji and Asia in 2017 after touching down in LAX airport, in Los Angeles
French bulldogs are the fourth most popular breed of dogs in the US, and are also among the most commonly stolen breeds too (pictured above is Gaga’s three dogs enjoying a day out on the beach)
Fischer was shot outside of a home in Sierra Bonita Avenue (seen above on Thursday, the morning after the shooting)
Blood appears on vegetation lining a sidewalk on North Sierra Bonita Avenue, where Fischer was shot
LA police said on Thursday afternoon that they were hunting for at least two suspects over the attack
Gaga adopted Gustav in 2016, and celebrated the addition to her ‘family’ in an Instagram post.
‘I’m proud to announce we added a new member to the #JOANNE family,’ she wrote, adding that she was still deciding on his name. ‘I haven’t named him yet but I call him both cowpig and moopig in the meantime!’
The singer got Koji as a puppy the year prior in April 2015, and Miss Asia has been with Gaga since March 2014.
A celebrity in her own right, Miss Asia boasts a social media following of more than 220,000. She has previously appeared in several magazines, featured in several ad campaigns and, in 2015, was the inspiration between Lady Gaga’s pet product line.
Gaga’s manager, Bobby Campbell, told Billboard at the time: ‘This is not just about crazy outfits for dogs. It’s about giving pet parents and pet owners a fun and creative way for protecting their pets, as well as fun clothes to display on Instagram (because Gaga loves doing that).’
To tease the line, Gaga uploaded a series of fashion-style photo shoots of Miss Asia reading Vogue, driving a Rolls Royce in a tux and even enjoying an outdoor picnic of champagne and dog biscuits.
The dogs have appeared frequently on Gaga’s social media pages in the years since.
In 2018, the singer dressed the trio up as Chia pets, the terracotta figurines that found popularity in the 1980s.
The three also previously accompanied Gaga on the red carpet for the American Music Awards in November 2017.
Lady Gaga’s representatives have not yet returned a request for comment on the shooting or theft of the star’s dogs (she is seen above with Gustav, right, and Koji, left)
The three French pitbulls previously accompanied Gaga on the red carpet for the American Music Awards in November 2017
In 2018, the Shallows singer dressed the trio up as Chia pets, the terracotta figurines that found popularity in the 1980s
In a statement to DailyMail.com, the LAPD confirmed the shooting and said two dogs were stolen, but said it was too early to know if the incident ‘was a robbery’
The suspect fled the scene northbound on Sierra Bonita Avenue in a white vehicle – a BMW or possibly a Nissan – and remains at large
Hours before the shooting unfolded in West Hollywood, Gaga was pictured strutting through the streets of Rome.
She is currently filming in the Italian city for Ridley Scott’s new movie Gucci, in which she stars Maurizio Gucci’s ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani.
Debuting new brunette locks, the Bad Romance hitmaker was spotted walking into her hotel, glad in a glamorous animal print kaftan and a black studded face mask.
Earlier this month, Gaga revealed that a ‘very important member’ of her family was hospitalized for two months with COVID-19 after falling ‘very, very ill’ with the virus.
The 11-time Grammy winner admitted it was difficult for her to visit them in the ICU because she had to be by herself.
When asked what has been giving her hope over the past year, she said: ‘I got to be honest. I’m about to cry on the other end of this call with you because it’s really – it’s doctors, it’s nurses, it’s essential workers.
‘I haven’t spoken to this person about speaking about this publicly, but I will tell you that a very important member of my family was very, very ill recently and in the hospital for almost two months.
‘I was in the ICU by myself many times because you can’t go in with more than one person, if you can go in at all. I have never seen the heroic acts of bravery that I witnessed, watching these doctors and nurses and people that were cleaning at the hospital.’