VALPARAISO — Police say a 23-year-old Hammond man is responsible for stealing two pug dogs from a Lake County home two weeks ago and driving them into rural Porter County, where he beat them to death.

Anthony Priestas, who also has a Hebron address, was arrested and booked into Porter County Jail on felony charges of animal cruelty.

Priestas was picked up following an investigation by Porter and Lake county police.

"During a thorough investigation with family members and witnesses, suspect information was obtained," according to a statement from the Porter County Sheriff's Department.

The dogs were allegedly stolen by Priestas during a Feb. 21 burglary and driven to the area of county roads 400 West and 100 South in Porter Township, where he was seen beating the dogs to death before throwing their bodies in water and driving away, police said.

One of the nearby residents attempted to stop the man by yelling, then he drove away, Porter County Animal Shelter Director Toni Bianchi has said.

Anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to contact Porter County Sheriff Detective Sgt. Dziedzinski at 219-477-3134.

Gallery: Recent arrests booked into Porter County Jail