HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police in Suffolk County are trying to find a woman who they say stole a puppy from a pet store in Huntington.
It happened around 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 17 at the Yipity Yap pet store on East Jericho Turnpike.
A woman is seen on surveillance video walking into the store with a big, dark-colored bag hanging off her arm. Store employees said she posed as a customer.
“She was interested in buying a pup. She looked around the store, she found one that she liked. One of our sales associates took the pug out and gave it to the customer in one of our secure puppy rooms,” salesman Felix Ramirez told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.
She told the clerk she wanted to buy the pup and he left to get the necessary paperwork, Ramirez said.
“By the time he came back, both the customer and the puppy were missing,” he said. “She took advantage that the sales associate turned his back for a quick second, stuffed the puppy in her purse and then brazenly walked out the door.”
Police said the black pug is valued at $1,800. Ramirez said the puppy is only 9 weeks old.
“He’s a baby, small enough that he could fit into any purse,” he said.
Manager Steve Goldstein said it was the first time a puppy had been stolen from the store.
“We were very shocked,” he told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall. “We’ve been in business here four years and nothing like this has ever happened before.”
The manager said security is tight, with keys and locks, but until now customers had all been trustworthy.
“On good faith … she took advantage of us in a second’s notice. It was wrong,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein said everyone at the store is worried about the young pup.
“We hope he is being loved, but we hope it’s not being sold to a laboratory or used for dog fighting,” he said.
“Purebreds can be stolen to order, and shipped down to puppy mills to start breeding,” Det. Paul Llobell of the Suffolk County SPCA told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
The store’s house trainer, Eric Howard, is pleading for the pug’s return.
“It had a great personality, it’s a pure black pug,” he said. “There’s got to be a neighbor who sees this puppy.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential. Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest.
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