NewsPinellas County


Rental car stolen with woman's pet chihuahua inside while she was at funeral in St. Pete

Posted at 3:59 PM, Aug 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-01 19:11:05-04

ST.PETERSBURG, Fl.-- St. Petersburg police are investigating after a vehicle was stolen, with a woman's pet inside.

Ruth Williams said she was attending a family funeral service at Bay Point Christian Church when her beloved 9-year old chihuahua, Joy, went missing.

"She's like my baby and I've had her for almost like 10 years you know, and pretty much taken her anywhere I would go," Williams said.

Police said she rented a vehicle to drive from Tennessee. While at a viewing, she left Joy inside the vehicle for about 10 minutes and lost track of her keys. During that time, police believe someone stole the gray Hyundai Tucson.

"Awful that someone would think to take advantage of someone who's just simply wanting to commemorate the life of someone else," said Senior Pastor Randall Hildreth.

Police are hoping someone comes forward, and to find the vehicle and pet. But vehicle theft is a crime they see all too often.

"Cars are stolen and it's a crime of convenience," said St. Petersburg Police spokeswoman Sandra Bentil. "What we're seeing is cars are easily stolen when they're left unlocked and the keys inside."

There's a $1000 reward for the safe return of the dog, according to Williams.

"It's been a nightmare," she said. "We miss her so, so much."

She said she hopes whoever took the dog knows she's affectionate, spayed and that her bark is not aggressive.

"Just have a heart, just please just return her," Williams said.

Anyone with information should contact St. Petersburg Police.