Dogged detective work collars extortion suspect in Collier

North Naples resident Andrea Michna's 3-year-old Samoyeds — Snowdot, left, and Ava — were the center of a recent extortion plot. Collier County Sheriff's detectives arrested a man Wednesday, but the dogs remain missing. If found, call Michna at 847-436-0440. A reward is offered. Photo courtesy of Andrea Michna

North Naples resident Andrea Michna's 3-year-old Samoyeds — Snowdot, left, and Ava — were the center of a recent extortion plot. Collier County Sheriff's detectives arrested a man Wednesday, but the dogs remain missing. If found, call Michna at 847-436-0440. A reward is offered. Photo courtesy of Andrea Michna

Dathan Charles Cyr

Photo by CCSO

Dathan Charles Cyr

Video from NBC-2

— A Golden Gate man was arrested Wednesday and charged with attempting to extort thousands of dollars from a North Naples woman in exchange for her two lost dogs.

Dathan Charles Cyr, 43, 4239 27th Court, is charged with extortion, a felony, the Collier County Sheriff's Office reports.

The canine caper began Monday when Andrea Michna of North Naples received a text message from a phone number she didn’t recognize, asking if she was still looking for her two lost dogs. Michna's two white Samoyeds, 3-year-old Ava and Snowdot, went missing on April 14 after they got loose in the Pelican Marsh community. Michna placed advertisements in local publications and passed out fliers offering an unspecified reward for the dogs.

Michna responded to the text saying that she was still looking for her dogs. A series of texts followed from the suspect, who claimed to be a “Latina” named Diana who lived in Immokalee and claimed to have the dogs.

The suspect threatened to shoot the dogs if Michna did not pay $8,000 cash.

Michna contacted the Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives coordinated a plan to nab the suspect, and a meeting with him was arranged.

On Wednesday, an envelope was dropped off at a location in the city of Naples chosen by the suspect, who was notified via text that the envelope with the cash had been dropped off. When Cyr responded to the location within five minutes and retrieved the envelope, he was taken into custody by deputies who were waiting nearby.

A cell phone was in plain view in the center console of Cyr’s car. A detective called the phone number that the suspect used to call Michna and the phone in Cyr’s car rang. After his arrest, Cyr confessed to the crime in an interview with detectives.

Michna said she is glad the ordeal is behind her.

“It was a very cruel thing to do to someone who is missing their dogs,” she said. “It was an awful thing to go through.”

Michna remains hopeful Ava and Snowdot will be found. Both dogs have their names and contact information embroidered on their collars, she said.

“They’ve run away before and have always come back,” Michna said. “I really think someone picked them up.”

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