NORWALK, Conn. – An expensive 12-week-old puppy was stolen from a Norwalk store Monday morning by a man who used a child as an accomplice, the store owner said.
Update - 12:25 p.m.: We have added the survelliance video from Puppies of Westport.
The license plate on the fleeing vehicle, which "nearly ran over" a pursuing clerk, turned out to have been stolen, he said.
"The very suspicious thing was the guy came in and decided to buy it in a couple of minutes, and he picked the most expensive one," said Kaufman. The suspect was a black man dressed in a blue striped polo shirt who was with a boy about 10 years old. The man tried to use an American Express Card to pay for the $4,100 English bulldog, but the magnetic stripe did not work. The clerk, Elizabeth Kantor, keyed in the numbers but was suspicious. The man showed a driver's license with his picture on it.
The video surveillance tape shows the man making a sharp gesture to the child, pointing at the parking lot. The boy immediately leaves. As Kantor works the register, the man heads out the door with the dog – and a few seconds later she dashes out after him. Another man runs out behind her.
Another angle shows Kantor being brushed aside as a truck speeds away. "I literally don't think he thought I would come after him," she said. "I saw the look in his eyes, and he gave me this look, like panic. When I went flying out he started to – he wasn't stopping and I didn't know what I was going to do. I tried to open up the handle and then I decided, let me run alongside the car for a little bit. Then he stepped on the gas, and I got a little deflected."
She got the license plate number and called Norwalk Police at about 11:20 a.m. The plate had been stolen from a car at Home Depot in Bridgeport on Sunday. The American Express card was also stolen, Kaufman said.
English bulldogs are expensive because they must be born by cesarean section and fed by hand every two hours for the first six to eight weeks of their lives, he said. Otherwise, the mothers might roll over and suffocate the babies, Kaufman said. The litters are also small.
The puppy had been sold to someone else, Kaufman said. That customer had agreed to let this puppy go to the new customer and take a dog that was due to be delivered Wednesday.
Kaufman said his wife is a "wreck, going hysterical" with concern over the dog. "It's disgusting that someone would take it out of a store like that."