FORREST HILLS, Queens — The dog walker who we reported on last week is in serious trouble with the law, thanks to the PIX11 investigation.
The surveillance video shows him dropping off the dog at a Forest Hills apartment building. However, he doesn’t leave immediately. Instead, he walks down the hallway and two minutes later emerges carrying a package, a package he did not have when he came into the building.
He then walks down another hallway and comes back with another package. He exits the building with both packages in his arms. It was later determined that the packages were taken from in front of tenants’ doors, where they had been left by the United States Postal Service. One contained an almost $800 computer.
The dog-walker worked for Wag!, a California based internet service that aspires to be the Uber of dog-walking companies. It is endorsed by celebrities such as Kendall Jenner and Mariah Carey. Wag! says it does extensive background screening, including local and national criminal background checks.
For three weeks after the packages were taken, the case got very little attention. Neither the NYPD nor the Postal Inspection Service were investigating. However, after PIX11 began asking questions, each began its own investigation. Last week, the day after our broadcast, the dog walker was arrested. He is identified as David Velandia, 30 years old, of Whitestone, Queens.
Police charged him with petit larceny, a misdemeanor. The NYPD says Velandia has eight prior arrests for which the records are sealed. We are unable to tell if any of those resulted in a conviction. He also was arrested for petit larceny in September of 2016. That case has not yet gone to court.
Wag! issued a statement saying “The arrest from 2016 was not included in this individual’s background check report. Wag! takes this extremely seriously, and is currently investigating why this arrest was not in the report. If Wag would have known about the arrest for petit larceny in 2016, it would not have moved forward with engaging this individual as a service provider.”
Velandia is due in court on Jan. 30 to answer the charges in the Forest Hills case. The computer he is accused of stealing was replaced by Amazon.