ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A puppy was swiped from a local pet shop on Friday in broad daylight and the brazen crime was caught on surveillance camera. After nearly one week apart, the pup and the owner of the pet shop were reunited on Thursday.
The tiny, fluffy white Maltese was only 14 weeks old when he was stolen, weighing just 2 pounds, according to the pet shop owner. On Friday, two women were seen looking at puppies at Aquatic Dog and then one of them grabbed the puppy, put it in her jacket, zipped it up, and took off.
FOX31 spoke with Shelia VanderVeer, owner of the pet shop, and she said it happened quickly. She recalled speaking to the customers and then walking off to help a man at the counter. She said she noticed something, looked over at the puppy pen, did a quick headcount and noticed one was missing.
“I ran after them and I caught up with them just as they were getting into their car,” VanderVeer said. “I was yelling at them to stop. I was so concerned for the dog. He’s so tiny.”
She was able to get the license plate of the getaway car and gave that to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies then showed up at the home, demanded the pup back and a woman handed him over; that encounter was also captured on body camera.
Deputies took pictures with big smiles on their faces as they handed the pup back to the owner of the pet shop on Thursday.
“Oh, he was so happy to see me,” VanderVeer said. “We all commented on his little tail just wagging back and forth. I know he remembered me. He was a happy camper.”
A happy ending for the pup and VanderVeer this time, but she said this isn’t the first time this has happened. She said this is the fifth time in the last two years and she believes it has to do with the soaring prices for dogs in the pandemic.
The thief in this case is now facing a felony charge. Little Maltese, as the pet shop owner calls him, was worth $2,400.