(WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has found local police investigated a tie between stolen dogs and murder.

This comes to light after the I-Team recently showed you the number of cases of dogs getting stolen nationwide has skyrocketed.

In Painesville last year, police took a call for a man shot and killed.

Some 911 callers reported, “Somebody got shot. Somebody got shot,” and “Yeah, there was about 10 shots rang out.”

A Cleveland homicide detective then told Painesville police that he believed, “a group of males from Painesville had robbed the victim in the Cleveland case a couple weeks prior, stealing $28,000 worth of pure-bred pitbulls.”

The stolen dog case has never been solved.

The I-Team has found that investigators could never prove the connection between the stolen dogs in Cleveland and the murder, but records show police looked into that and it became a part of questioning at the trial for the killer in Painesville.

Lake County prosecutors recently convicted a man for the killing in Painesville. A judge sent him to prison for 44 years to life as punishment for the murder and drug trafficking.

The I-Team took a look at that case after what we recently exposed.

The American Kennel Club found, in the last year, the number of dogs stolen nationwide has gone up 30%.

So, why are the numbers up that much?

Tom Sharp spoke for the American Kennel Club, saying, “It’s a great question. We don’t necessarily have all the answers.”

Sharp told us some thieves steal dogs for themselves. Others steal dogs and sell them. The crimes have been happening more since the price of dogs went up during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“With the pandemic, people were staying at home and they wanted a new pet and it became very difficult to get a pet,” Sharp added.

So, the trend in stolen dogs can be considered alarming, but a bit of a mystery.

A lot like the possible connection between stolen dogs and a  murder.