Update: After this story aired Friday afternoon, the Carlsbad Police Department said the family was reunited with their dog. Police say they identified the truck as a company truck for Performance Energy Services, and charges will most likely be forthcoming for the man who took the dog. To read KRQE News 13’s original story, see below.
CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico family just wants answers after their dog was stolen. Police are investigating the incident that was caught on camera.
In broad daylight and with a witness around, surveillance video shows a man getting out of his truck with what appears to be food in his hand. Seconds later, it’s clear why, as he drags a dog to his truck.
“That’s what’s most frustrating is you stole from a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old more than anything, because they spend all day with this dog,” said Raeanna Sappington.
It happened Monday around 4 p.m. on Avenue B in Carlsbad.
Raeanna says their dog isn’t just any dog—it’s their beloved family bulldog, Valentino. He’s also an expensive breed worth thousands of dollars.
“We miss V,” said 3-year-old son Jackson Sappington.
Money’s not the issue—they’re heartbroken and just want him back.
“My son…he’ll see a dog the same color as V and like, get excited and be like, ‘It’s V! It’s V!’ and I’m not going to lie, I get excited and then it’s not, and it’s a just letdown,” said Raeanna Sappington.
They say Valentino accidentally got out with their Saint Bernard.
When they realized what happened about 15 minutes later, they went searching everywhere for him but he was nowhere to be found.
“Tuesday, I was like, ‘I’m gonna call the waste company, see if they know anything,’ which they had surveillance and were more than willing to let me watch the video and film it,” said R. Sappington.
A city waste management employee who witnessed it says he confronted the man who took the dog, but the man told him it was one of his friend’s dogs.
“But if it’s your friend’s dog, then why did they only take my bulldog and not my Saint Bernard that was with my bulldog?” R. Sappington questioned.
Because of how badly they want him home, they say they’re willing to give a $1,000 reward to anyone who gives them information leading to Valentino’s safe return.
Police are investigating and say they’re following up on leads. It’s unclear if they’ve identified a suspect, or the company the truck belongs to.
KRQE News 13 reached out to the company the family thinks owns the truck.
The company said it’s cooperating with authorities and will take appropriate action pending the outcome of the investigation.