Tony Van, a 37-year-old hairstylist from San Francisco, was out on bail as jurors weighed his fate. He had been charged with possessing a San Anselmo resident's cherry-red, 2008 Porsche Carrera worth $125,000.
In the courthouse parking lot, prosecutors said, a parallel drama unfolded when puppies from a 2005 Lexus SUV apparently grew tired of baking in the sun and escaped out a window.
After county employees scooped up the Yorkshire terrier-Maltese hybrids, sheriff's deputies ran the license plate and found that the Lexus had been stolen in San Francisco.
Meantime, Van ran back to the SUV holding its keys and expressing concern for the dogs. Deputies arrested him.
Van also had a laptop computer that had been swiped in an auto burglary.
The escaped dogs, and a few newborns still in the SUV, were OK and were taken to a Humane Society shelter. It's unclear whose dogs they are, but they do not belong to the SUV owner.
Later that afternoon, the Marin County jurors - unaware of what they had missed while deliberating - returned with a guilty verdict.
And on Monday, Van was arraigned on new charges: possessing a stolen car and computer, plus animal cruelty.