See also: Crazy Lady Photographed During Van Nuys Dognapping.

Maybe it's the heat. Or the economy. But dognapping is becoming a serious crime in Southern California. In no time at all it seems we've gone from stealing dogs out of backyards to swiping pets from adoption events to straight-up canine robbery.

That was the case a few weeks back, L.A. police say, when two guys walked into the Unleashed by Petco at 7288 W. Sunset Blvd. Now detectives want you to help them ID these alleged dog thieves:

They didn't have guns. But one of them used his fist, cops say.

And the punch to the head of a Petco employee amounted to attempted murder, the LAPD alleges.

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It happened Sunday, June 16, about 3:30 p.m., according to the department.

The guys came in and asked about pet adoption before grabbing two spotted Chihuahuas and heading for the door, cops say.

An employee who confronted them was, in turn, met with that fist of fury, according to the LAPD. The duo fled.

Credit: LAPD

Credit: LAPD

Last night the LAPD started circulating security video images of the duo, hoping someone might recognize the suspects.

One is in his late 20s, about 5 feet, 9 inches, 170 pounds; the other appears to be in his late 30s, 5 feet, 9 inches, about 190 pounds, cops say.

The latter suspect also has this distinction, according to police: He appeared to have rotten teeth.

Know who these guys might be? Call police at 213-485-4328.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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