HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - Hamilton police are investigating a reported theft after discovering security footage of a man leaving a store with a puppy in his sweatshirt.
The incident happened at Cheri’s Preferred Puppies, a Hamilton business of more than 30 years. Cheryl Dalton, who owns the store, said she was shocked to learn a man had pocketed a puppy because she said she has taken extra precautions by putting cameras all over the store.
“I don’t know why people in this day and age think they can get away with stuff," said Dalton.
The store’s video cameras show a man coming into the shop and looking around Nov. 30. As soon as the employees' eyes are averted, the man appears to make his move. He is seen on camera shoving a puppy into his sweatshirt, shuffling around a bit and then scurrying out the door with the puppy on his person.
“You feel violated and upset, and you worry about your puppies,” said Dalton.
Soon after they realized that the nine-week-old Chihuahua was missing, Dalton said they shared security footage on social media, and it paid off.
“Guy that stole him sold him to another man who gave him to his girlfriend, and then a friend of the girlfriend saw it on the internet and called her up and told her, and she called us immediately and brought the puppy back," said Dalton.
As soon as the puppy was back in their possession, Dalton said the little guy was checked out by a vet, who told them he was not hurt.
“To get him back that quickly, we were really grateful and happy,” said Dalton.
Still, Dalton said it is scary anytime thefts happen at the shop. In her dozens of years of business, she said it has happened more than once, although all but one puppy have ultimately been returned.
“Seven instances of stealing, but 10 puppies involved,” said Dalton.
Despite the thefts, Dalton said she does not plan on changing the way she keeps the puppies penned. She feels the only people who should be punished are the people who steal puppies -- not those looking for a chance to pet them or love them.
Offering that, Dalton said, is always worth the risk.
Hamilton police did take a report and are investigating the theft, which means the accused thief could soon be facing charges.
Dalton said she hopes to see that happen and wants to warn others that her security cameras are always watching.