HOUSTON — Imagine you’re with your significant other walking your dog when two men in a car pull up behind you. Both of them, one armed with an AR-15, get out of the car and run toward you shouting, "Give us your dog!"
That's really happening in Houston. Multiple victims have reported two separate incidents of similar crimes.
When Joey Barnhill and his fiancee took their French bulldog for a walk last week near their east downtown home, they never would have imagined the terror they would soon face.
"They both ran at me and they were yelling, ‘Give me the dog! Give me the dog!' and we were scared, and honestly, we didn’t know what to do," Barnhill said.
“The guy had a huge gun pointed right at me," Barnhill said. "Then the other guy, who was a bigger guy, grabbed me and started wrestling me for the dog.”
Then the man with the rifle fired a shot.
"We started to run back to the house," Barnhill said. "In that moment, because I thought, 'These guys are running around the streets with an assault rifle, we need to get home first and foremost.'”
Once they did get home, the men circled their house several times before the police arrived.
The next day, a woman said she found the dog and got Barnhill’s number from the dog’s collar. She said she wanted a reward and arranged a meeting near NRG.
"We had a pretty good feeling that this was a setup," Barnhill said.
Barnhill said he wanted police to go with him but he never got a call back. Once he was near the location, Barnhill found a patrol officer in a parking lot and told him the story. The officer came along and they spotted the dog but didn't see any people.
But the story may not end there.
A woman said she was walking her dog near Tanglewood on Saturday when two men in a car with the same vehicle description tried to do the same thing to her.
"Wearing a hoodie and a mask he said, 'Can I take your dog?' I said, 'No I don’t want any trouble,'" the woman said.
She refused to give up her dog.
"The driver jumped out of the vehicle to help his friend and that’s when I thought it could be a lost cause, so I started to scream loud enough that a vehicle stopped heading to the stop sign," the woman said.
Then the men took off.
Barnhill said he doesn’t know if he and his fiancee will ever return to the home he’s lived in for more than a decade. He doesn’t think it’s safe.
"I think they did their homework and they knew," Barnhill said. "They stalked us and I think they’re stalking other people, too. I think other people in that neighborhood are in danger, frankly.”
KHOU 11 is still waiting to hear back from Houston police to see if they believe the crimes are connected.
The descriptions of the suspects, vehicle and methods are all the same, leading the victims to believe they are.