MacDill airman searching for family dog, suspected stolen

Man believes he has video of dognapper's vehicle
Posted at 11:19 PM, Oct 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-12 23:19:48-04

A local Airman based at MacDill Air Force Base says someone stole his dog just steps from his front yard. 

Christian Lopez and his family have been frantically searching neighborhoods across Hillsborough County for his four-year-old Catahoula Leopard mix, Achilles. 

"People come and go but your dogs are forever," Lopez said. "He's like a child to me, he’s my son. I took him everywhere that I could." 

Lopez is dealing with a heartbreaking mystery. 

"I never thought I could be so attached to a dog, or an animal at that, and shed a tear, but, sure enough, I have shed some tears.”

Achilles didn't return home with the family's other two pets after they were let out Sunday morning on Crestwood Drive in Valrico. 

Lopez checked his home's surveillance video when his eldest dog went missing. 

The video shows a mini-van pulling into a vacant home's driveway across the street and later a stranger wandering the yard with his three dogs running around.   

“It looks like he lures my dog in by collar, all three of my dogs head in that direction," Lopez said. "The van reverses out quickly and leaves and the dogs return. The only one missing is Achilles."

Lopez is confident the person in that van stole his beloved companion. 

“I wanted to treat it like an AMBER Alert to be perfectly honest with you. I’ve been heartbroken since then.”

Lopez filed a report with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Sunday. Family and friends are posting flyers throughout nearby neighborhoods.

"I'm just praying and hoping that somebody will eventually have a change of heart of bring him back," Lopez said. 

Achilles does not have a chip, but does wear a tan, military I.D. collar. Lopez is offering a cash reward for the dog's safe return home.