Name: Mini Cooper Gender: Gelding Species: Horse Breed: Pony Description: Mini "Cooper" was a 21-year-old, flashy, 12.1 hand, pinto pony gelding with two knobby knees when last seen in Valley Center, CA in March 2022.
WHAT HAPPENED TO MINI COOPER --> The man we leased Cooper to was arrested on 4/12/22 in Valley Center, CA for Felony Grand Theft of our horse Mini Cooper ("Cooper") & Felony Witness Intimidation towards the key witness to our civil case. We need the public's help locating Cooper as this man refuses to disclose Cooper's location. Case #22115489.
CIVIL & CRIMINAL UPDATES: * 11/15/23 - Cooper the Stolen Pony says on their Facebook page the following: On 11/06/2023, a San Diego County Superior Judge ruled that we are in fact the legal owners of Cooper and ordered the man to return him to us (Case #37-2022-00010689). The judge also ordered him to pay $2,000 for defamation & harassment against Trina West; in part, for lies told about Cooper’s ownership. The man swore under oath during his felony witness intimidation trial that Cooper is currently with a “family with a three-year-old” that he met through the California Horsetrader ad, which he placed in their “Horses For Sale” section. He later stated under oath that he “leased” Cooper for $5,OOO to the family that responded to the ad. He stated under oath that “forever home means lease” and that he has the lease document to prove it. He did not provide the court with any proof of that “lease” claim. If you have Cooper, or know who does have Cooper, please contact us ASAP as he is reported as stolen property with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. We are sensitive to the fact that the family that has Cooper may be victims too.
* 11/6/23 - Cooper the Stolen Pony says on their Facebook page the following: THE MAN WAS SENTENCED! Sentencing was today and the judge upheld the Felony “Strike.” He has to attend “Anti-Theft Counseling” as a condition of his probation.
* 11/3/23 Cooper the Stolen Pony says on their Facebook page the following: WE WON IN CIVIL COURT! The Judge ordered the man to return Cooper to Trina & Jay West within 30 days AND to pay a $2,000 fine for defamation and harassment to Trina!
* On September 20, 2023, the man that stole our horse (Defendant) was found guilty by a jury on the charge of Felony Witness Intimidation (Case #CN433771) towards the key witness in the civil case we had filed against him to get Cooper back. The victim in that case had initiated and facilitated the Feed Lease for Cooper as she was a mutual friend of ours and the Defendant. He stated that if she testified to the Feed Lease at our civil case, that he would stop paying her rent (she was also his landlord) and he followed through with that threat for 16 months! The Defendant was ordered to pay her over $21,000 in restitution at his sentencing hearing. At the hearing, the Defendant stated on direct examination that he had Cooper, was providing him with a forever home, and could never be parted from him. However, on cross-examination the Prosecution got the Horsetrader Ad admitted (despite an earlier ruling by the judge to not allow it in) and the Defendant was forced to admit the truth -> he did get $5,000 for Cooper from a "family with a three-year-old" that he met through the Horsetrader ad. The Prosecutor was excellent and exposed numerous lies which ultimately led to his conviction of Felony Witness Intimidation, which is a "strike" offense. The Prosecutor pointed out the obvious, which was he would have no reason to threaten and harm the key witness to the Feed Lease if there had never been a Feed Lease. His actions pointed to the truth and the jury saw through the lies. We purchase the trial transcript which provided us with the sidebar conversation that led to the admittance of the Horsetrader ad. During the sidebar, Defense objected to its admittance given he had assured his client that it would not be admitted and was concerned about what he would say on cross. The judge allowed it in for cross based on testimony provided during direct. Unfortunately, Prosecution was not able to get the Defendant to disclose Cooper's exact location. In fact, several questions later, the Defendant tried to back-peddle with the Prosecutor and stated that he "leased" Cooper (now 22 years old) for the $5,000 - that it was not a sale. He stated that the words "forever home" in the ad means "lease."
* On November 3, 2023, our civil case was finally heard (Case #37-2022-00010689). It was delayed over a year and a half due to the criminal charges against the Defendant. At the civil hearing, the Defendant was ordered to return Cooper to us. The Defendant continued his claim that somebody "leased" Cooper from him for $5,000 but no evidence of that was provided to the court. Again, the Defendant did not disclose Cooper's location. Additionally, the Defendant was order to pay me $2,000 for Defamation and Harassment. Part of the Defamation arose over false claims the Defendant made publicly about his ownership of Cooper. If the Defendant does not return Cooper, he must pay us $5,000. We believe the claim about a "lease" is a lie as nobody "leases" a 22-year-old pony for $5,000. In fact, the judge reprimanded him for that assertion right before he awarded Cooper to us.
* The Grand Theft of Livestock charge has not been dismissed by the District Attorney's office; however, formal charges have not been made and we do not wish to explain in fear it will hurt the chance for a future charge. Cooper has been reported as stolen with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department as Case #22115489.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: * The man who stole Cooper listed him for sale in the February 2022 edition of the California Horsetrader for $5,000. This man was NOT the legal owner of Cooper and had no authority to sell him.
* On 6/6/21, we ended the Feed Lease we had had with this man since July 2016. He refused to return Cooper and claimed in writing that he could never part with Cooper due to his personal relationship with him, his god-daughter's relationship with Cooper, and the "special bond" between Cooper and his gelding.
* We then consulted with an Equine Attorney and learned we risked the courts awarding a monetary value for Cooper instead of ordering his return. We did not want to risk that so we began searching for other options to legally reclaim our horse.
* On 3/11/22 we were informed by the agent we had assigned to oversee Cooper's care during the Feed Lease (our close friend and also a friend, neighbor & landlord of the man who had Cooper) that Cooper was missing.
* We reported the theft of Cooper to the authorities and eventually an arrest was made, including two felony charges. Unfortunately, the man refused to disclose to the authorities where Cooper is so we NEED YOUR HELP!
* We absolutely believe that whomever has Cooper likely knew nothing about the theft and is a victim of this man as well. We will work with whomever has Cooper to seek full financial restitution from the man that illegally sold our horse. Area Last Seen: Valley Center, CA, 92082 Date Last Known: 3/11/2022 Contact
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