Sunday 25 September 2016

Man arrested over 'White House dognapping plot'

Published 09/01/2016 | 06:16

Sunny, a Portuguese water dog belonging to President Barack Obama and his family (AP)
Sunny, a Portuguese water dog belonging to President Barack Obama and his family (AP)

Secret Service agents arrested a man who allegedly travelled to Washington to kidnap a dog belonging to President Barack Obama.

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DC Superior Court documents say the agents interviewed Scott Stockert of Dickinson, North Dakota, at a Washington hotel after receiving information he was on his way to the capital to kidnap a "pet" owned by the first family.

The Obamas have two Portuguese water dogs, Bo and Sunny, and officials arrested Stockert after finding weapons in his car.

The documents say the agents interviewed Stockert on Wednesday after they received information from a Secret Service office in Minnesota that Stockert "was on his way to Washington, DC, to kidnap the pet that belongs to the first family".

During the interview, agents asked Stockert whether he had access to any weapons, and he acknowledged having two guns in his truck.

Agents found a shotgun and rifle as well as a machete, a billy club and ammunition. The court document says Stockert was not a registered gun owner and that he was charged with violating District of Columbia laws on carrying a rifle or shotgun outside a home or business.

According to the court documents, Stockert told agents he was "Jesus Christ" and his parents were President John F Kennedy and actress Marilyn Monroe, and that he came to Washington to announce he was running for president.

S tockert was released from custody on Friday but must wear an ankle monitor.

The first family's search for a dog to join them at the White House was widely publicised.

On election night in 2008, Mr Obama said that his daughters, Sasha and Malia, had "earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House".

Bo, a male Portuguese water dog, joined the family in 2009 and was a gift from then Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. Sunny, a female Portuguese water dog, joined the family in 2013.

The dogs have been a regular presence at White House events. Late last year, they accompanied first lady Michelle Obama to receive the White House Christmas Tree. The decorations included larger than life replicas of Bo and Sunny.

Press Association

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