Local

Woman steals puppies from suburban pet stores

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Police are reviewing surveillance video in hopes of tracking down a puppy thief, as what appears to be the same woman is seen stealing puppies from stores in the west and southwest suburbs.

Both dogs had been implanted with microchips so there's hope the puppies will be recovered.

The thefts happened at Petland stores in Bolingbrook and Naperville.

The two incidents happened minutes apart Friday morning, a woman walking in, asking to see a puppy, and then walking out of the store with the dog before anyone knows what happened.

It's a bustling place, the Petland in Naperville, but amidst the smiles and wagging tails, there's a feeling of loss.

"You know, he's like a tiny little guy," said Petland owner Adam Stachowiak. "He's a cute little dog. He shouldn't be stolen."

It happened shortly after the store opened. A surveillance camera captured a woman asking to see Casper, a ten-week-old Havanese puppy.

"She did not look like a dog kidnapper at all," said Petland employee MandyJo Dunn. "She looked like a middle-aged mother, like motherly. Friendly person that you would just walk up and talk to."

The woman is led into a play area and given some alone time with Casper.

But the video then appears to show her either putting the dog in a purse or under her jacket.

With store employees busy with other customers she then calmly walks out the store.

"You never think you'd be this emotional about a puppy, but he is like a family member," Stachowiak said.

Thirty minutes before Casper was taken, the owner of another Petland store in Bolingbrook also reported a dog stolen. A surveillance camera captured a similar-looking woman appearing to steal another white dog, 14-week-old Hercules, a Maltese puppy.

Store employees have a message for the alleged thief.

"Please send Casper back," Dunn said. "There's so much that he needs done, just feeding and watching him, just making sure he's alright."

"Bring Casper back here, so we can find him a home," Stachowiak said.

A puppy like Casper can sell for as much as a couple thousand dollars, but the owner of the store says he doesn't care about the money. He's just worried about the dog's well-being.

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