Police find puppy that was stolen from Janesville pet store

Published: Sep. 19, 2016 at 5:53 PM CDT
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) -- A puppy is back where he belongs after being stolen from a Janesville pet store over the weekend. Petland reported the theft Saturday, after a couple who was playing with an 11-week-old pug walked out of the store with it.

But thanks to tips reported to the Janesville Police Department and old fashioned policing, officers were able to return the puppy back to the store Monday morning, an outcome the pet store owner is more than grateful for.

"We're so glad to have you back here, we're going to take good care of you," Petland store owner, Mike Sardina, said as he held the 6lb pug.

For the first time in Sardina's 12 years as the owner, a pup was nabbed in plain sight.

"They asked to play with the pug so the sales associate gave it to them. He got distracted by another customer to purchase another item and before you know it, they put the dog under their shirt and walked out the door really quickly," Sardina said. "These little guys are babies and we were very concerned he wouldn't get the proper healthcare, nutrition, just the proper care from somebody that would go so low to steal a puppy."

A concern many via social media also had. After Police posted the surveillance photos, it did not take long to stop a suspect.

"This morning with the information we had developed we started looking for the suspect," Janesville Police Sgt. Dean Sukus, said. "Within a few short minutes our follow-up officer noticed the vehicle being driven by the male suspect and low and behold he was there and the dog was in the vehicle with him."

Police arrested 20-year-old Thomas Haye for Felony Retail Theft and Dognapping. They also arrested Allison Prijic as a party to those crimes.

"A lot of the thanks goes the public it was their information that got us where we are," Sgt. Sukus said.

"The puppy looks to be in great health. We're going to have him examined by the vet tomorrow, but so far everything looks wonderful and we're just so thankful and appreciative," Sardina added.

In response to this incident, Petland has changed its story policy to require photo ID in order to play with the animals.

In appreciation of Janesville Police, Petland has decided all profits from the sale of the puppy will be donated to the department's K9 unit.