'Blackie' Is Back Where He Belongs -- And, Owner Says, Is No Longer For Sale

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — “Blackie” the stolen bulldog puppy has been found.

Police found Blackie inside a home in Phillipsburg, Pa., — 65 miles from the pet store where the pooch was pilfered, CBS 2 reported. Thomas Mesach and his girlfriend, Carmen Fucci, were charged with theft and conspiracy to commit theft, respectively.

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On Monday, a brazen bandit was caught on camera taking the 8-week-old English bulldog out of its cage at the Aquarium at Route 4 pet store, located at 143 Broadway in Elmwood Park, N.J. Police said Mesach is the one on the video.

“The surveillance video was very good in this case,” Lt. Michael Foligni said. “We were able to print some still photos of it and circulate them.”

A man entered the store and walked up to the puppies, police said. He grabbed Blackie, paused, then headed into a nearby bathroom, where he apparently sneaked the dog out a window.

“He’s adorable, and was the smallest dog in there, so he was easy, I guess, for the guy to snatch up,” store employee Mary Lou Karachun said.

“I came upstairs to clean the dogs, and when I reached in, I realized one was missing,” store employee Jaime Timpone added.

But the store owner said the thief was not done yet. He met his match, with an angry marsupial. He seemed to get bitten or snapped at by a sugar glider, a tiny creature with a real bad attitude.

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“He was smart,” store owner Joe Aversa told CBS 2’s Dick Brennan. “He fought back.”

Dogs such as the one the man stole are valuable. Blackie sells for $3,500.

Blackie was returned to Aquarium on Friday afternoon.

“When they brought him in I just hugged him and rocked him like he was my son,” Karachun said.

He was described as hungry and dehydrated but otherwise in good shape.

“He’s gotten plenty of fluids, antibiotics, lots of medication, lots of love and care,” veterinarian Erin Bortz said.

Aversa said Blackie is no longer for sale.

“From the first minute I saw him I love his markings, his colors, but now with what he’s been through, I’m going to keep him,” Joe Aversa said.

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