The trio of thieves who stole a 15-week-old Boxer late last week from a Naperville pet store might think they deserve a pat on the back — or maybe a pat on the head — for having returned the puppy.
But as far as the shop’s owners and police are concerned, they’re still in the doghouse.
Adam Stachowiak and Mike Isaac own the Petland store at 720 S. Route 59 on Naperville’s far west side. Stachowiak said a man and two women entered the shop in the late afternoon of Aug. 8 and made off with Precious, a female brindle Boxer valued at $2,500.
A limping and famished Precious was found in otherwise good condition Tuesday night, after she was placed on the bed of a white pickup truck parked outside the Petland store at 744 E. Boughton Road in Bolingbrook. Isaac and Stachowiak have no affiliation with that business.
Stachowiak said Precious was found about 10:30 p.m. by the truck’s owner, a female employee of the Bolingbrook Petland, after she had finished her shift and was going home for the night.
“We suspect whoever stole the dog brought it back and left it in the truck, so they could return the dog anonymously, and they especially covered their tracks by returning it to a different store,” Stachowiak said Wednesday.
Stachowiak said he did not know if the truck was chosen at random, or if the person who put Precious in it somehow knew it was owned by a Bolingbrook Petland worker.
“We’re happy Precious has been returned, and is in seemingly good health. She was checked out by our vet this morning, and seems to be doing OK.”
Jaime Bednarz, sales manager of the Naperville Petland, spent part of Wednesday getting reacquainted with and fussing over the puppy. Precious is currently limping on one of her hind legs, possibly as a result of being left on the truck bed, Bednarz said.
The puppy also might not have been especially well cared-for after being stolen, as she wolfed down a large serving of dog food during her first feeding after being brought back to the shop, she said.
Bednarz said a man who identified himself as being an off-duty police officer apparently witnessed the theft. The man came into the store and said “he saw the whole thing,” she said.
The man also got the license plate number of the vehicle in which the man and women escaped with Precious, Bednarz said. The vehicle later turned out to have been stolen, she said.
Stachowiak said he and Isaac “are still hoping to find the people responsible for taking Precious in the first place.” He vowed to pursue felony theft charges against the thieves should they be identified and arrested.
Naperville police Sgt. Bill Davis said detectives were notified “that the puppy was recovered outside of the store.” “The case is still under investigation, and further steps will be taken to identify the offender or offenders responsible for the theft,” Davis said Wednesday.
Stachowiak said the trio entered the shop and asked if they could play with the puppies. The man began to pet and play with Precious, while the women played with other, smaller dogs, he said.
“Eventually, the two women distracted staff (members) while the man made his way to the front of the store,” Stachowiak said. “He left quickly with the dog, while the ladies followed closely behind less than a minute later.”
Images of the trio were captured by the shop’s video surveillance system, and have been widely circulated by local media and social networking websites.
The suspects were described as being of either Indian or Middle Eastern descent. One of the women was wearing what appeared to be a white sari, and all three suspects wore sunglasses throughout the incident.
Four puppies and six exotic birds have been stolen since March 2008 from the Naperville Petland, which sits opposite Aurora’s Westfield Fox Valley shopping center. All of the animals, except for three of the birds, were eventually recovered and returned to the shop in good health.
Witnesses to the most recent theft, or those who believe they have information about the case, can call Naperville police, at 630-420-6666. Callers can remain anonymous.Tags: Petland theft