A 9-week-old puppy that was stolen and allegedly traded on the streets for crack cocaine has been recovered thanks to its microchip, police in Florida said.
The Yorkshire terrier had turned up at a St. Petersburg animal hospital over the weekend, several days after police say surveillance video showed her being smuggled out of a Largo pet store in a man's T-shirt. The store's price tag on the pup: $1,600.
"All of our prayers have been answered!" Jason Smith, who manages All About Puppies, told The Huffington Post. "I'm just glad to get her back and in the right hands."
Largo police arrested the alleged thief, Wayne Junior Barfield, last Friday, three days after the Jan. 12 theft. But Smith said Barfield, 38, provided no help in finding the puppy.
Fortunately, the Partridge Animal Hospital had seen reports about the stolen dog and decided to scan the Yorkie brought in on Saturday. It wasn't until Wednesday that the results of the microchip scan reached the police.
"It was just really scary with this guy because for three days he was not telling anyone anything," Smith said of Barfield.
The Yorkie had ultimately been purchased by a couple who didn't know her history, according to Smith, and they had taken her to the animal hospital. The hospital tweeted that the dog had a respiratory infection and intestinal parasites.
"The couple that had bought the dog from someone was given a different story about how the dog came about," Smith said.
Authorities said the couple had already named the puppy "Cookie" when they were informed that she had been reported as stolen.
Now the dog is heading back to All About Puppies. After another checkup by a veterinarian, Smith said she will first spend the night at a staff member's home as a precaution.
Though the theft rattled store employees, Smith said he knew they'd get the dog back.
The last time a dog was stolen from the store was seven years ago. That crook, who Smith said was featured in a compilation of dumb criminals, was nabbed after putting a pug down his pants.
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