SARASOTA, Fla. — Police have reunited a California man with his dog that was stolen three years ago after she was found being used in home burglaries in Sarasota.
"It was interesting because usually when we have burglaries, we don’t have anything distinguishing, so this little white bulldog was very distinguishing," said Sgt. Eric Stafford.
Surveillance video shows that the suspects were taking the bulldog, Maggie, along with them during burglaries in a Lido Key neighborhood of Sarasota.
Officers had been canvasing the area and letting residents know about the suspects. Not long after, a resident was in contact with a suspicious person walking a bulldog, so they called police.
Police searched the area and found the suspects in a vacant apartment.
"We found her, the male she was with, and the bulldog all hiding in the bathroom and all the items they had stolen in the back bedroom," said Stafford.
Police say Maggie was the key factor in helping them track down the suspects. What they didn’t know was that Maggie was also stolen.
"The dog was chipped. They checked the chip and it came back to a person who lives in California," said Stafford.
Turns out Maggie was stolen three years ago from a man in California. Stafford sent an email to police staff asking for donations to raise $800 to get Maggie home.
"As soon as I put out the email, we raised all the money within two days," said Stafford.
Stafford said they learned bulldogs can’t travel by flight because of breathing issues, so Maggie went with a dog transport company called "Haulin’ Paws" and has been reunited with her owner in California.
"I’m sure much other law enforcement agencies would’ve done this but I’m really tickled that we could do it," said Stafford.