All 3 dogs inside stolen vehicle found safe

DENVER -- All three dogs that were in a vehicle when it was stolen from outside a Stapleton liquor store were found safe Monday morning, the dog's owner said.

Paul Villella said a woman was walking her dogs in the Cheesman Park area when an Alaskan malamute named Victor followed her home.

The woman called the number on Victor's collar and reunited the dog with Villella.

The dogs were in a dark blue 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe with Colorado license plate VDV-232 that belongs to Villella, who owns Vic's Liquors Fine Wines and Beers in Stapleton.

The vehicle was stolen about 5 p.m. Sunday after Villella left it running while he went to grab something from the store.

Victor is known as the mascot of the store at 7305 E. 35th Ave. The other dogs were a Jack Russell named Laila and a Maltese named Sophie. They were found later Monday morning.

The thief, described as a white male wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers hat, was spotted on surveillance camera driving a white U-Haul pickup truck before stealing Villella's vehicle.

Villella said the thieves have since used his credit cards at various stores in the Northfield Stapleton area.

On Sunday night, Villella said he received phone calls from people who said they saw a suspect at a nearby Best Inn and Suites motel.

Villella said he went there with his fiancee and said "a random guy" walked out of a room with a jacket that was in the Tahoe.

Villella confronted the man, who said it was in a room. Villella then went into the room with motel staff and said they found numerous stolen items, including purses, electronics, printers, mail and mortgage statements from Highlands Ranch.

Villella said he called the Denver Police Department but was told officers were too busy and no one showed up.