Northeastern Regional Police and the community worked together to reunite a stolen pet with its family.
"When we work together, crimes get solved," Detective Bryan O'Melko. "Things ended well for the dog and the family."
The pet, a brown 9-month-old male pit bull named Mocha, was stolen about 8 p.m. Saturday, July 7, from the parking lot of a Dollar General Store in the 4300 block of North George St. in East Manchester Township, according to O'Melko.
Mocha was left in a vehicle with the windows down, as his family wanted to make sure he had plenty of air while they shopped for dog food.
O'Melko withheld the family's name at the request of the family. He said the family had just gotten Mocha a week ago.
He said that on the day Mocha was taken, the family had gone into the store to get dog food and discovered he was gone when they returned to their vehicle a few minutes later. Someone reached into their vehicle windows to get Mocha, O'Melko said.
The store video showed a white flatbed truck leaving the parking lot the same time as the theft, he said. A witness said a white male and female were in the truck, the detective said. To find the pup, the police department listed the incident on its website and provided information to local news.
As a result, police received a tip Wednesday through the Crime Stoppers hotline that matched details of the truck police saw on video. Police also got a tip that someone received the dog from the man who drove the truck. The tip included Mocha's location, a trailer park in Conewago Township, O'Melko said.
The detective went to the residence the day the tip was received.
"The information was spot on," he said. "When I went to the residence, the front door was open and the interior screen door was the only barrier between myself and the dog. The dog was sitting right there at the screen door."
O'Melko said the family had given him a photo of Mocha and the dog he saw inside the house matched perfectly.
A young woman who lived at the residence soon arrived, and the detective told her about the investigation.
"She said that she had purchased the dog from the while male driving the white truck," O'Melko said. "He is not identified yet. That was the first time they met and he had the dog and allegedly sold the dog to the girl."
The woman did not know the dog was stolen, he said.
O'Melko said he brought Mocha to the police station Wednesday and contacted his family. He said the family was "very appreciative" about getting Mocha back.
The detective said the incident is still under investigation, as police are still looking for the man who stole Mocha.
"It was probably a crime of opportunity," he said. "They saw the dog, the (vehicle's) windows were down, nobody was around, so they took him. Fortunately, it has a happy ending."
O'Melko said he is glad the community got involved to help get Mocha back to the family.
-Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at email@example.com.