Lady Gaga’s dad says he never believed the woman who claimed to have found his daughter’s stolen dogs after their walker was shot as she appeared in court.
‘I thought it was unusual when they got the phone call that this woman found the dogs tied to a pole, you know, that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,’ Joe Germanotta told Extra when asked about Jennifer McBride, 50.
Germanotta, the owner of the Manhattan eatery Joanne Trattoria, reacted on Friday to the news that McBride – who returned the Poker Face singer’s stolen French bulldogs – was arrested along with four others in Los Angeles. She and her co-defendants were arraigned on Thursday, with McBride now free on bail.
The motive for the February 24 robbery, investigators believe, was the value of the French bulldogs – which can run into the thousands of dollars.
Joe Germanotta, Lady Gaga’s father, says he never believed the story that the woman who recovered his daughter’s kidnapped dogs after the singer’s dog walker was shot and wounded just happened to find them on the street
The Poker Face singer was in Italy on Friday filming House of Gucci. She will portray Patrizia Reggiani, the Italian socialite and ex-wife of Maurizio Gucci
Five people have been arrested and charged in connection with the February 24 kidnapping of Gaga’s two French bulldogs, Koji and Gustav, and the near-fatal shooting of their walker
‘I thought it was unusual when they got the phone call that this woman found the dogs tied to a pole, you know, that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,’ Germanotta, a New York City restaurant owner, said. He is seen left alongside Lady Gaga in New York City in January 2018
The dog walker, Ryan Fischer, is recovering from a gunshot wound and has called the violence ‘a very close call with death’ in social media posts.
He was walking Lady Gaga’s three dogs – named Asia, Koji and Gustav – in Hollywood just off the famed Sunset Boulevard when he was attacked.
Police arrested James Jackson, 18; Jaylin White, 19; and Lafayette Whaley, 27, in connection with the violence.
They are charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit robbery and second-degree robbery, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Ryan Fischer, who has been described as a family friend, survived the assault. He has posted images of himself in a hospital bed on his social media
Fischer, 30, was shot four times while he was out walking Gaga’s three dogs, Koji, Gustav and Miss Asia, before thieves snatched two in February
Lady Gaga is pictured with her French bulldog Koji, who was stolen on February 24
The three are described by police as documented gang members, who targeted the bulldogs because they knew of their high value. When bought from reputable breeders, the animals can cost between $3,000 and $5,000.
McBride is accused of returning the dogs after Gaga offered the half-million dollar reward for their safe return.
The gang accused of stealing them are not believed to have known who the valuable pedigree pets belonged to when they carried out the dognapping.
Jackson, who authorities say was the shooter, also faces charges of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and a felon carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle.
White faces one count of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury.
The dogs were returned two days after their abduction to an LAPD station by a woman who originally appeared to be ‘uninvolved and unassociated’ with the crime, police initially said.
The woman, identified Thursday as McBride, had reported that she’d found the dogs and responded to an email address associated with the reward, police said.
McBride turned out to be in a relationship with the father of one of the suspects, the LAPD said Thursday.
It was not immediately clear if she had received the reward. All of the suspects have pleaded not guilty.
‘What surprises me is that the LAPD stayed with it and they caught these guys, we were hoping that they were going to catch ‘em and what they did to Ryan was just horrible and he’s still recovering,’ Germanotta said.
‘He’s still got some physical therapy he’s got to go through.’
The singer offered a $500,000 reward to anyone who returned her dogs safely. Gaga is pictured with Koji, Miss Asia and Gustavo
Germanotta added: ‘[Fischer is] really a great kid he loves those dogs… those animals he takes them everywhere with him, he’s been their… trainer for five to seven years…
‘He’s been with them a long time and I just think it’s remarkable that this is going to come to closure, I just hope somebody in L.A. actually prosecutes these kids.’
Gaga’s father said that he hopes the court proceedings end in convictions.
‘This was attempted murder. I hope they don’t let them back on the street,’ Germanotta said.
‘I just can’t believe that somebody pulled out a gun and shot someone over dogs, stealing dogs, that’s just beyond me.’
Detectives do not believe that the thieves initially knew the dogs belonged to the pop star, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement.
Germanotta agrees with the LAPD’s assessment.
‘The French bulldogs are really popular now, they are getting thousands of dollars on the black market,’ he said.
‘They think it was a ring. I’m pretty confident they didn’t know they were Lady Gaga’s dogs, how would you know?
‘They’re not walking around with diamonds around their necks?’
Judge Victoria Wilson on Thursday shielded the five suspects from photographers’ lenses
Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee, prosecuting the five, is seen in court on Thursday
Defense attorney Steven A. Seiden was granted permission for the five to avoid photographs
Video from the doorbell camera of a nearby home shows a white sedan pulling up and two men jumping out.
They struggled with Fischer and one pulled a gun and fired a single shot before fleeing with two of the dogs, Koji and Gustav.
The video captured Fischer’s screams of, ‘Oh, my God! I’ve been shot!’ and ‘Help me!’ and ‘I’m bleeding out from my chest!’
Lady Gaga offered a $500,000 reward — ‘no questions asked’ — to be reunited with the dogs.
The singer had been in Rome at the time filming a movie.
All five were being held on $1 million bail each, online jail records show.
Lady Gaga did not immediately address the arrests on her social media accounts Thursday afternoon.
Fischer and Lady Gaga’s representatives did not respond to requests for comment.