Puppy doesn't go to family's home for Christmas after thief swipes it from Naperville store
Naperville police and the owner of a Petland store are asking the public for help finding a stolen 10-week-old English bulldog puppy that was to be a family's Christmas surprise.
The male blue merle English bulldog was taken from the Petland at 720 S. Route 59 the afternoon of Dec. 18. A woman left the store with the puppy when the dog was left unattended for a brief time, police said.
A witness saw the woman enter a vehicle driven by someone else but wasn't able to identify the vehicle, police said.
The store did not report the value of the puppy to police. But blue merle English bulldogs are a rare breed that typically receive additional veterinary care through Petland, according to a news release posted on the store's Facebook account this week.
The puppy has a microchip, which, when scanned, provides information about the registered owner but not the theft, police said.
Store surveillance video captured the woman, described in her late teens or 20s, with the puppy. She was wearing a green hoodie with blue fur and jeans. Police say they are trying to identify her.
The store owner has expressed concerns about the health of the puppy now that the dog doesn't have "access to all the health care, warranties, and homecoming products that ensure a smooth transition to its new home," the release stated.
"Bulldogs are especially prone to specific ailments, and that is why they receive extra special veterinary care. I fear that this puppy is now not being cared for properly at all," store General Manager Jason St. Charles said in the release.
The store has adopted security measures designed to prevent thefts, but in the case of the stolen bulldog, there was "an extreme, but very specific breakdown in the procedure." The release did not provide further details.
A family had booked an appointment to take the puppy home as a Christmas surprise the evening it was stolen.
"This puppy was already very popular. He would have surely ended up in a great home that is properly prepared to care for him," store owner Carl Swanson said in the release. "Our main concern is finding the puppy and ensuring his health."
The store asked anyone with information about the puppy or the dog's whereabouts to contact Naperville police at (630) 420-6666 and to reference police report No. 2018-13218.