JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – A man was arrested after snatching a puppy while delivering food to a Jacksonville Beach home on Saturday, the Jacksonville Beach Police Department said Sunday.
Police said Arlinson Chilito, 22, is charged with grand theft, and Rick Block, the owner of the dog, said his 10-month-old teacup poodle named Lexi is back home.
“It was terrible. I mean, it was just terrible,” Block told News 6 partner WJXT-TV by phone on Sunday. “She’s happy to be home.”
According to Block and police, Block’s wife ordered a pizza from the restaurant Gusto through Grubhub on Saturday night. Police said that when Chilito arrived with the food at the family’s home inside a condominium building on First Street South, the poodle exited the residence. Chilito then grabbed the poodle and hid her in the delivery bag, according to police.
Block said the food delivery driver was caught on surveillance video walking into an elevator with the dog before leaving in a blue Ford Focus. Police said Chilito was able to exit the building by bypassing the lobby night staff on duty.
On Sunday morning, Block posted on Facebook that Lexi was back home.
“Jax Beach PD rocks!!! They were amazing. Truly,” he wrote.
Minutes later, the Police Department announced Chilito’s arrest, saying he was located with the puppy at his home in Jacksonville hours after the theft.
“There were hundreds and hundreds of people out looking,” Block said. “One friend sent his 76-year-old grandmother out at midnight last night driving around, looking for Lexi. How do you say thank you?”
Records show Chilito was booked around 2:30 a.m. Sunday into the Duval County jail.
While police said the family ordered food from the restaurant via Grubhub, a Grubhub spokesperson told News4Jax that the man who was arrested was not a Grubhub driver and has never been contracted with the company. The spokesperson said he “was using another contracted driver’s account without Grubhub’s permission or knowledge.”
Below is the entire statement that the spokesperson sent to News4Jax on Sunday afternoon:
“We are shocked and appalled by this behavior, and there is absolutely no tolerance for it on Grubhub. We confirmed the individual charged with this crime was not a Grubhub driver and has never been contracted with us. He was using another contracted driver’s account without Grubhub’s permission or knowledge, which is a fraudulent misuse of our platform. We banned the driver permanently from our platform and support efforts to prosecute both individuals to the full extent of the law. We run rigorous background and motor vehicle checks before contracting with any driver and are committed to continuously reviewing and evolving our practices to prevent fraud and ensure safety for the Grubhub community.”
Block said Gusto was cooperating with the investigation.
He told News4Jax that he hopes other people learn from his family’s experience.
“This is not about us. It’s not even about Lexi, God bless her. Again, this is about people’s safety and their property and ... people we are relying on right now every single day. We used to get five meals a week from Grubhub because we stay hunkered down,” Block said.
When the puppy went missing, the Blocks offered a $5,000 reward. The Blocks said they will be donating that money to the Jacksonville Beach police lodge as a way to say thank you for bringing Lexi home.