Accused pet extortionist defended by family - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Accused pet extortionist defended by family

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Lashira McClain made a big mistake inside a Memphis courtroom Monday by bringing one of her four children with her.

"You can't bring children into this courthouse...into this courtroom," said the judge.

Allegedly breaking the law is why the 25 year-old Memphis woman posed for a mug-shot over the weekend.  But an extortion charge was something she did not want to discuss when Action News 5 dropped by her house.

"I don't wanna talk!" she screamed through the front door.

McClain is accused to text messaging pet owner Anna Bolton four times last Friday claiming she had Bolton's lost dog, Violet.  Police say she demanded money for the dog's safe return. 

Violet ran away from home the day before after officers shot Bolton's other dog, Bing, while answering a burglary call. 

Violet was back home by Sunday night.  She was found in the same neighborhood where she went missing and was never with Lashira McClain.

"She have a, a mental problem," said Steve House, with whom we spoke outside McClain's home.

He said he was the brother of McClain's baby's daddy.

"I seen the text messages," said House.  "I didn't pay it no attention and didn't worry about it."

Police say McClain texted Bolton after seeing her number on the posting for her missing pet on Craigslist.com.  It's a crime of opportunity that did not pay off.  House told us he didn't know what McClain was thinking.  But nowhere in her court records did we find a mention of mental illness, or need for an evaluation.    

Violet's owner, Anna Bolton, told us she's praying for McClain.  Meantime, police say beware of scammers whenever you post a number on Craigslist or anywhere else.

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