Naperville police are seeking an arrest warrant for a suspect in the recent cases of puppies stolen from Petland stores, authorities said Friday.
Sgt. Lou Cammiso said police have identified a suspect in the theft of a white 2-month-old Havanese puppy named Casper, who was taken from the store at 720 S. Route 59 on Nov. 8.
The suspect, whose identity police have not yet released, also is wanted in connection with two other puppy thefts last week, Cammiso said -- one in Bolingbrook at 744 W. Boughton Road, and another in Lake St. Louis, Mo.
Cammiso said the store intends to cooperate as police seek to arrest, charge and prosecute the suspect.
"We definitely would like to continue the search for whoever took Casper," Adam Stachowiak, owner of Petland in Naperville, said Friday afternoon. "We don't want to give up now that he's back."
In the Naperville and Bolingbrook cases, Petland employees reported a woman wearing a gray hat, blue jacket and large scarf asked to see a white puppy, then distracted the pet counselor so she could place the dog in a bag and exit the store.
The puppies were returned to the stores Wednesday, and Stachowiak said Casper will be ready Saturday morning to go home with a prospective buyer.
Pet thefts are not exactly common, but Cammiso said they have occurred in the past, with a bird and a puppy among previous animals stolen from the Naperville Petland store.
Stachowiak said allowing potential customers to play with the roughly 150 puppies in the shop is important to Petland's business model, and that privilege won't disappear after the recent theft.
"We won't change a lot of what we do," he said. "But we obviously will be more diligent in making sure we're keeping a close eye on who's playing with the puppies."