LAS VEGAS -- Gloria Lee, the pet store owner accused of arson, is facing additional charges including 27 counts of attempted cruelty to animals. Each count represents a puppy that was in the store at the time of the suspicious fire.
Lee, 35, who was charged with first degree arson and conspiracy to commit arson, is now facing additional charges of burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and attempted cruelty to animals. The additional charges were released by the District Attorney's Office shortly after Lee's court hearing.
"The evidence suggests that these two people almost killed 27 puppies. It was an easy decision to bring serious charges to these folks for their dangerous acts," District Attorney Steven Wolfson said.
Lee was greeted by protestors as she arrived at the Regional Justice Center Wednesday morning for her first court appearance.
"This happens to be some psychopath that literally wanted to burn 27 puppies just to get insurance money as she gets puppies from puppy mills," Cheryl Prater, an animal rights activist.
Lee appeared in Las Vegas Justice Court for a status check. She was placed under house arrest and ordered by the judge to surrender her Korean passport. Lee remains free on a $20,000 bail.
Lee is the owner of the Prince and Princess Puppies & Boutique which was set on fire on Jan. 27. There were 27 puppies inside the store when the blaze was started. A sprinkler system and the quick actions of firefighters were credited with saving the animals. A co-defendant, Kirk Bills, is also wanted in connection with the arson case. Police have been unable to locate him.
The District Attorney's Office requested that Lee's bail be raised to $400,000 because there is "very strong" evidence against her which might increase her intent to escape. Police say there is surveillance video of Lee and a man in the store setting it on fire.
Lee is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 7 where her bail amount will be discussed.
According to the Clark County District Attorney's Office, Lee has previous convictions from California. She was convicted of larceny in 2001 and forgery in 1999. Court documents from Alaska show that Lee defrauded the state's Permanent Fund Dividend Division of more than $71,000.
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