Good police work, surveillance videos, and extensive media coverage enabled Halton Regional Police in Burlington, Ontario, to quickly reunite the teen with her Shih-Tzu and make an arrest in a brazen case of theft.
The incident occurred on Monday around 7 p.m. Idah Clementino, 14, was walking her dog, Jackson, through a service station parking lot on Plains Road East in Burlington.
According to police, a man approached the girl from behind and asked if he could pet her dog. Feeling uneasy by being approached by a stranger, Idah kept walking. The man followed her while continuing to pet her dog. At one point he unleashed Jackson, picked him up, and held him close to his chest. He then walked away quickly, put Jackson in his car, and drove off.
Idah told police that after he picked the dog up, he said, "I'll take my dog—this is my dog—I Iost him three years ago."
Luc Bernard, 32, of Burlington, is facing one count of theft under $5,000.
Idah was quoted in the Hamilton Spectator as saying, "I was crying, yelling for him to let go."
After the man took off, Idah yelled and waived her arms in an effort to get someone to stop. Eventually a woman stopped her car and called 911.
Idah's mother Jane said, "There's something not quite right about him." She thinks what happened to her daughter was a one in a million occurrence and still feels her Burlington neighbourhood is safe.
The family put up posters and offered a reward of $250 for Jackson's return. But with a lot of help, police were able to make an arrest and return a healthy Jackson to his owners the day after he was taken.
Early this morning, Staff Sergeant Jeff D. Siemon issued a statement. As reported by the Hamilton Spectator, it read, Halton police credit the prompt and extensive media coverage of this incident which led to staff at Burlington Animal Shelter learning of this incident. The staff members in turn provided police with valuable information which was instrumental in the successful conclusion of this investigation.
Police are urging people to have their pets micro-chipped as Jackson's implant led to his swift return.
Bernard appears in court today for a bail hearing.