Volume 74, Number 14 | August 04 - 10 , 2004

Roller-blade bandit steals pricey pups from pet shop

By Erica Stein

In a brazen daylight dognapping, a woman stole a pair of tiny terriers from a Greenwich Village pet shop last Sunday, then made her getaway on rollerblades. Taken from Groom-O-Rama pet store at 496 Sixth Ave. on July 25, the purebred puppies were “teacup” Yorkshire terriers, a male and a female, each priced at $1,800.

The woman, whom the store’s manager, William McCoy, described as young, white, about 140 lbs. with very dark brown hair and standing 5’7” in rollerblades, entered the store and asked to see the two puppies. McCoy, 33, said that the store, between 13th and 12th Sts., was almost empty when the woman came in around 4:30 p.m. on July 25. “I really didn’t get that good a look at her because she had these giant sunglasses on. In retrospect, I guess she was trying to make sure we couldn’t see her face,” said McCoy.

McCoy said that the woman watched the dogs in the playpen in the middle of the store for about 20 minutes. “Eventually I noticed she was still there, just hanging out; there was something a little off about her manner,” McCoy said. “So I put the dogs back in their cages at the back of the store.” McCoy said that a bottle broke in the street outside the store and that, in between cleaning it up and assisting the few other customers, the woman asked another staff member to see the dogs again and took them from the store.

“I called the police and they assigned a detective,” McCoy said. “They wanted me to come down and look at mugshots, but really, unless they can slap a pair of sunglasses on every one of them, it’s not going to help. The case is basically closed, there’s nothing they can do unless she brings the dogs to another store or a vet,” said McCoy. He explained that the dogs each had been “microchipped.” “It’s basically another way of putting up signs and flyers. They each have a microchip about the size of a pinhead under their skin,” McCoy said. He added that the system “isn’t like a Lojack — it’s up to the vet or store to scan the dogs. But I called about 13 animal hospitals and stores around here, and only three of them don’t have scanners. We also have a $250 reward offered. But we probably won’t find them unless she brings them to a vet or tries to sell them. I just hope they’re O.K.”

Teacup yorkies are prone to hypoglycemia, which McCoy said can lead to shock if the dogs don’t receive supplemental nutrition, such as karo syrup. “It’s easy to counteract if you know about it, but most people don’t,” he said. McCoy added that Groom-O-Rama has had relatively few thefts in his 11 years there and that most items stolen have been leashes or food, not the puppies and kittens in which the store specializes.

“Everyone around here has been really supportive, wants to know what happened,” he said. “But the thing people are asking me every five minutes is ‘How? How could someone just walk out with two dogs?’ Right, if I know how, I’m really going to tell everyone so they can try.”

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