Woman caught on camera stealing puppy at Just Puppies pet store

Woman could face grand theft charges; pet store says puppy cost over $500

Published On: Feb 27 2013 10:26:18 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 28 2013 12:39:26 AM EST
Puppies at pet store
ORLANDO, Fla. -

A local pet store is hoping to nab a woman who was caught on camera stealing a puppy.

The theft happened at the Just Puppies pet store on east Colonial Drive and Hampton Avenue on Feb. 19.

In the video, a woman is seen with a young boy casually walking around the store. The woman had picked up and is seen carrying a shih tzu puppy in her arms, when she makes her way to the bichon frise bin.

The woman peers down then reaches into the bin and picks up an 8-week old puppy. She then drops the bichon frise in her bag.

"Wow, that's pretty gutsy," said Just Puppies customer Alex Burton.

"Real casual about it too," said customer Dan Baron.

As the woman turns toward the exit, the video shows her putting the shih tzu puppy back in its cage and is gone within seconds.

"And I thought to myself, 'She wasn't here very long to look at a puppy,' and then I remembered she had a big purse so I thought 'Uh-oh,'" said Linda Wirtz, who was working at Just Puppies at the time of the theft.

Wirtz said they often keep cages on the smaller, more expensive breeds like bichons locked, but on that day it was open, allowing the woman to swipe the $899 dollar pooch with a child in tow.

"I guess (the child) was the decoy along with the other puppy," said Wirtz.

If caught, the woman could face grand theft charges since that puppy cost over $500 dollars. The store is also offering a $500 reward for its safe return.