Men break into Lakeland home, steal family dog

Posted at 6:55 PM, Jan 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-25 18:56:09-05

A Lakeland family is begging for information to help find their Yorkshire terrier that is believed to have been stolen during a Friday burglary.

Rick Edwards got a call Friday morning from his neighbor saying his front door was wide open.

"We knew right away that someone was not right, so I came home as quickly as I could," he said.

When he and the family arrived home, they found thousands of dollars in electronics -- like iPhones and iPads -- missing.

But more important than those items was the disappearance of their beloved, one-year-old puppy named Toby.

"It's a big deal for the kids," he said.

Edwards has a hard time just talking about the events that transpired and how it affected his three kids.

Surveillance video from a home a few doors down appears to show three young men driving a dark Nissan and carrying items to their car.

"We see the guy I believe take the dog and put him in there," Edwards said. "I believe the dog was stolen because he stays right next to his brother; he's just a little puppy."

His older brother is named Reese's. He's taking it hard, but the kids are taking it even harder, Edwards said.

Deputies were able to track down some of the electronics, but so far there's been no sign of their family pet.

In the meantime, the family is not taking any chances. They just had a state of the art surveillance system installed over the weekend.

Their message to the intruders is simple: "We forgive you."

They say they just want their dog back.

If anyone has information about this incident, they are urged to contact PCSO at 863-298-6200 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS.