Lady Gaga is poised to hand over a $500,000 reward to a mystery woman who returned her beloved French bulldogs kidnapped in a violent street robbery near her home in Hollywood.
Koji and Gustav, thought to be worth up to $10,000 dollars each, were given in at a downtown LAPD Police Station by an unnamed woman late on Friday night.
Authorities believe the woman who handed the dogs in was "uninvolved and unassociated" with the attack - but she is still eligible for the "unconditional" $500,000 and is said to be in contact with Gaga’s representatives.
“If you bought or found them unknowingly, the reward is the same,” Gaga had said in a post confirming the hefty sum before the dogs were handed back on Friday.
The violent abduction on Wednesday saw the singer’s dog-walker and close friend Ryan Fischer shot in the chest. Gaga's third dog named Miss Asia escaped the attack and was later found by police.
The singer, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, has kept silent since the dogs were handed into police. But her reward offer has raised eyebrows.
One former FBI agent criticised the decision, arguing the incentive encourages other criminals to steal dogs and return them for outrageous fees.
The police station where the dogs were handed back is situated in Pico Union, a gentrifying neighborhood known for gang related activity.
Officials fear revealing information about the good samaritan’s identity could be risky while the thieves remain at large.
“We’re providing very little information on this because this is an ongoing investigation and because we are also concerned about her safety.” Captain Jonathan Tippet, who leads the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division, said.
The incident is the latest in a recent spate of violent thefts of French Bulldogs across the United States. The breed is the fourth most popular dog in the country.
Dog walkers in LA are now so fearful of attacks that they are considering carrying concealed guns, body cameras and even Jujutsu classes. Others say they will no longer go on nighttime walks.
Gaga thanked her friend for risking his “life to fight for our family” in an Instagram post. “You're forever a hero," she said.
Mr Fischer is expected to make a full recovery, family members told Rolling Stone that
“We cannot possibly say enough to thank all of the first responders, nurses and doctors who have worked so tirelessly to care for Ryan.”
The brutal attack of Mr Fischer occurred at around 9:40pm in the 1500 block of Sierra Bonita Avenue in Hollywood.
Footage captured on a neighbour’s security camera shows a white sedan pull up alongside Mr Fischer. Two men, dressed in dark clothing, then climb out of the back seat.
The clip includes audio in which Mr Fischer can be heard telling the attackers “No, no” as he fights to save the dogs. A gunshot then rings out.
Watch: Video shows Lady Gaga's dog walker attacked, dogs stolen
Police believe the car was a Nissan Altima and the robbers are thought to be between 20 and 25 years old.
“My opinion is that it was completely planned out,” one witness to the attack told Us Weekly, US celebrity magazine, on Friday.
“We walk dogs here and everyone here walks their dogs late. It’s (North Sierra Bonita Avenue) a very safe neighborhood… And, you know, we do have a lot of celebrities in this neighborhood.”
Buck Angel added that Mr Fischer was “bleeding out really badly”, but one of his neighbours “helped to save this guy’s life”.
“They had a motive, and they didn’t care,” another witness told FilmBox.