Florida Man Accused of Car Theft, Death Of Disabled Dog; Suspect Abandoned Stolen Vehicle With Handicapped “Zorra” Strapped In Seat


FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives have arrested a Sunrise man for a car theft that resulted in the death of a dog in Oakland Park. Jephthe Jean Francois was arrested Wednesday night, Oct. 9, facing charges of aggravated animal cruelty, burglary conveyance, grand theft of a vehicle and theft. 

According to police, at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 3, Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to 3420 N. Andrews Ave. in Oakland Park following a call from a woman claiming that her car had been stolen.

The 2005 Volvo was parked in a handicapped space in the plaza with the engine running and doors unlocked while she was in the Dollar Tree. When she returned to her car, after approximately 10 minutes, the car was gone along with her handicapped dog, Zorra. The Husky mix dog, who requires a wheelchair to walk, was strapped in the back seat.

Detectives received a tip from a towing company after removing an illegally parked vehicle from the Boardwalk at Inverrary apartments in Sunrise on Oct. 7. It was the stolen 2005 Volvo. Zorra was found deceased in the car.

Francois was arrested by Wilton Manors Police Department Wednesday night, Oct. 9, for committing a burglary at a residence. He was a passenger in a stolen car that had several items that were later identified as stolen. Wilton Manors Police contacted Broward Police to determine if any of the items were linked to any of Broward’s open cases. The key to the 2005 Volvo was one of the items found in the car.

Additionally, Francois was on pre-trail release and wearing an ankle monitor. Detectives were able to confirm his location on the day of the incident through the GPS monitoring system. Francois was booked into the Broward Sheriff’s Main Jail. While the cause of Zorra’s death is undetermined, she’s believed to have died of a heat stroke.

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