Police on Thursday returned a French bulldog that had been stolen from a Glendale pet store last month after it was located early Thursday morning in Laveen.
The bulldog was stolen from the Puppies N Love pet store at Arrowhead Mall on June 7, store spokeswoman Linda Nofer said.
A tip from a friend led officers to locate and arrest two teenage suspects, ages 14 and 15, at about 6:30 a.m. Thursday at a home near 75th Avenue and Baseline Road, said Officer Tiffany Smith, Glendale police spokeswoman.
The dog was found on a bed inside the home, unharmed and in good health.
Bystanders clapped and cheered as the dog was returned to Nofer at about 3 p.m. Thursday.
Nofer, the store’s marketing director, was nearly in tears as she held the dog for the first time in nearly two months, giving him kisses, hugs and telling him how happy she was that he was not hurt.
She praised the work of the Glendale Police Department and hugged Detective Beth Diaz, who had been working the case since the beginning.
“Our thought was, ‘It’s a dog, does anyone care?’ And you cared,” Nofer said to Diaz.
The dog was stolen on June 7 and was returned by Glendale police to the Puppies N Love pet store at Arrowhead Mall on July 26, 2018.
BrieAnna J Frank, The Republic | azcentral.com
Diaz said that she couldn’t have closed the case without the help of her team, who assisted in following up on leads and arresting the two teenagers.
“It felt great because you always have that worry that you’re not going to find what you’re looking for,” Diaz said. “We were afraid because of the dollar value of the puppy that it was resold.”
Nofer said that at the time it was stolen, which was only two days after it arrived at the store from a breeder, the dog cost about $5,000.
She added that five French bulldogs were stolen from another store location owned by the company in Tempe, costing a combined $32,000.
Those dogs were never recovered, Nofer said.
Store manager Andy Porter said that the dog would be taken to the vet for a full physical exam and vaccinations.
“He’s probably shocked right now,” Porter said. “It’s kind of stressful. His life’s been turned upside down a couple of times now.”
The homecoming was a welcome break during a tough day for law enforcement, Smith said.
Officers were mourning the loss of Arizona Department of Public Safety Trooper Tyler Edenhofer, who was shot and killed while on duty late Wednesday night.
“Each one of those guys got to hold that dog and got to give it some love, and it made the day a little bit better,” Smith said, referring to the officers who found the dog and made the arrests.
“It’s amazing because it’s a difficult day for a lot of us. To lose a fallen brother in law enforcement and to have a puppy, something that’s kind of bright and happy, to bring that day back up, it’s an amazing story.”
She said several of the officers who worked on the case were unofficially naming the dog after it was found, offering names such as Warrant and Dog of Justice.
Once the dog clears its medical exams, Nofer said the next priority will be ensuring that he goes to a loving home.
Porter said that although French bulldogs are “stubborn” and “kind of have a mind of their own,” they would make a great pet for the right home.
“They are very loving, very affectionate and very intelligent puppies,” he said.
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