The culprit believed to be responsible for letting out the dogs belonging to the Baha Men in 1999, has been identified and arrested by Victorian police. Officers from the Animal Incidents Squad, acting on a tip from Interpol, made the arrest, which concludes an investigation lasting seventeen years, spanning four continents, and inspiring the pop anthem “Who Let the Dogs Out”.
Juan Vincenzo Escovar, a Venezuelan national, was arrested without incident at a property in Glen Waverley, shortly before before 6am this morning. An arrest warrant had been issued following a request from police in the Bahamas and Escovar is expected to be extradited to the Caribbean nation in coming days.
The arrest is a relief for the Bahamian pop group whose international success was founded on the pop anthem released at the turn of the millenium. What was intended as an urgent plea for help in tracking down the canine culprit, became a pop sensation that topped the Aria charts in Australia, and reached number 2 in the United Kingdom.
Until now, many believed that the dogs had simply escaped when a member of the Baha Men left a side door of the group’s mansion in the Bahamas slightly ajar, while visiting 7/11 for a Slurpee on a sunny June afternoon, in 1999. That version of events was never accepted by the Bahamian supergroup.
“That didn’t happen,” a band member told Reuters at the time of the disappearance. “The door was locked and closed. There is no way the dogs could have escaped.”
Members of the group have long suspected foul play and no sign of the dogs (a poodle, bulldog and labrador) has ever been uncovered. Police are hoping that an interview with Juan Escovar will uncover the truth. He is expected to be charged shortly with three counts of animal kidnapping.
Sources tell Broken News that Escovar was a neighbour of the group, who owned a sprawling terrace home, adjacent to the Baha Men’s property in the Bahamas. It’s understood that in the late 90’s, Escovar had a number of disputes with the group over their loud late night practice sessions and wild parties. According to documents seen by Broken News, police will allege that Escovar let the dogs out as an act of revenge in 1999. He fled the property a short time later, and has spent the past twelve years avoiding authorities while living with associates in Latin America, Asia, and since 2009, an address at Glen Waverley in Victoria.
No dogs, were discovered at the Glen Waverley property and neighbours today said there was nothing unusual about Escovar, who has been living under the pseudonym Jacob Allen.
“He actually loved our dogs,” said Michael Taylor, who lives in across the road from the home where Escovar was arrested. “He would often pat them when I took them for a walk around the block. This whole thing has come as a complete shock.”
At the time of publication, Broken News was seeking comment from the Baha Men management.
UPDATE 3:13pm: The Baha Men have released a statement thanking Victorian Police for assisting local authorities in the Bahamas in making the arrest. “We are humbled by the hard work and diligence of everyone involved in this investigation. We always knew that our names would be cleared and we look forward to justice taking its course. We will have more to say in coming days, and we remind everyone that Who Let the Dogs Out is available for download on iTunes for $1.19”
UPDATE 4:24pm: Juan Vincenzo Escovar has been charged with three counts of Animal Kidnapping and will appear in court tomorrow. Broken News will continue to provide updates as the story unfolds.