St. Petersburg, FL -- A canine caper in St. Petersburg was caught on video, and nowpolice hope maybe you can help them I.D. the back-pack toting puppy snatcher.
It happened about two weeks ago at the Animal House Pet Center on 34th Street North in St. Petersburg.
What's gotten so much attentionis the brazenness with which the suspect stole the 10-week old puppy. In front of witnesses, staff,andthe store security camera.
"You know, I just wonder if it's even alive," saidpet shop owner Steve Silk, who's now watched the video several times. It makes him mad, and sad, he says.
On the video,a guy with a back pack cases the store for about 15 minutes,and just when he thinks no one is looking, reaches down, and grabs aChihuahua puppy.
He casually drops the dog in the backpack. tosses the bag over his shoulder and walks out.
"It's not the money, you know? It's just the way he went about it," says Silk.
Police hope someone will recognize the fairly clear image of the puppy pilferer.
He was most likely out for money, police think, than looking for a household pet.
"We don't think he's a dog lover. We think he possibly took the dog to re-sell," said Jenn Dawkins, spokesperson for St. Petersburg Police.
Silk says small dogs that are as young as the one taken can quickly run into health problems if they're not looked after, so he's worried about the pup, which he describedas gray with tan paws.
Silkknows he runs a risk by placing animals in open display pens rather than locked cages at his strore, but he wants his customers to interact with their prospective pets.
"It's nice that they can come in and handle and pet and play, you know - with our animals," he said.
The store is also handing out fliers, hoping someone will recognize the thief, who investigators think is probably fromthe neighborhood.
"It's sad," said customer Jillian Reed, "Whatever it is, it isn't good for the puppy."
"Pets are to be loved, not just taken and gone," added customer Elizabeth Schaefer.
Unfortunately, the puppy was still too young to have gotten an ID chip, so no help there.
If you think you know who that suspectisafter viewing the video, you're asked to call St. Petersburg police at (727) 551-3142.
The dog hasan estimated value of around $600 whichmakes this grand theft, a felony.
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