Dognapping ends in joyful reunion

October 16, 2008

By David Hayes

NEW — 4:58 p.m. October 16

Cookie is held by her owner, Mark, at the Issaquah Police Department. Photo by David Hayes

Cookie is held by her owner, Mark, at the Issaquah Police Department. Photo by David Hayes

 

The hallways at the Issaquah Police Department were a little noisy today with the excited sounds of a yipping dog. Employees were willing to tolerate the distraction, however. It’s not often a stolen dog is reunited with its owner.

Cookie, a 1-year-old Maltese was returned to her owner Mark, of Bellevue, (who was only willing to provide his first name for fear of retaliation from the thieves should they learn his full identity.) He said it was actually hard to decide who was more excited.

“It took her about five seconds when they brought her out,” Mark said. “First, she sniffed me, unsure, then recognized me, then wouldn’t stop yipping.”

Amazingly, the reunion came more than two months after Cookie was stolen. Thanks to some vigilant employees at the Sammamish Club and detective work by Issaquah police, Mark and Cookie were reunited.

The Sammamish Club, 2115 N.W. Poplar Way, has been experiencing an increase in car prowls in the past few months, according to Cmdr. Stan Conrad.

On Sept. 11, Mark’s car and another were broken into. Inside was Cookie in her carrier cage. Mark was devastated to lose essentially the only family he had left. He said his wife had died a little over year ago and Cookie was like a child to him.

“You feel just, like, losing direction. It was a pretty deep loss,” Mark said, struggling to find the right words. “It’s hard to understand why anyone would do something like that. It’s just like kidnapping.”

Because the private athletic club had been having so many problems, Conrad said employees began to be more vigilant for visitors who appeared out of place. Such was the case today.

“They saw a suspect casing vehicles and actually tried to catch him themselves, but then called us,” Conrad said.

A quick response by Issaquah police led to the suspect being apprehended just down the road from Sammamish Club. He was charged with reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, possession of marijuana and possession of tools used for break-ins, Conrad said.

Facing the four misdemeanor charges, the suspect admitted knowing the location of the stolen dog.

“He wouldn’t actually admit to taking the dog,” Conrad said.

Detectives then went to the Bellevue home the suspect told them about and did indeed find Cookie.

“It’s rare to find stolen property, much less a stolen dog,” Conrad said.

Unfortunately, the homeowners were an innocent third party who paid for stolen property, he said. So, they were out both their money and their new dog.

Cookie was brought back to Issaquah and Mark was called. They were reunited shortly after 3 p.m.

“It’s hard to describe my emotions,” said Mark. “I’m going to take her to the vet for a checkup, then we’re going to catch up. So, I’d say I’m a little more than excited.”

The reunion was a present for Cookie, too. Yesterday was her first birthday.

Reach Reporter David Hayes at 392-6434, ext. 237, or dhayes@isspress.com.

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