Originally Published: 29 SEP 23 11:07 ET By Ashley Mackey and Jaysha Patel
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A stolen dog was found and reunited with its owner on Thursday, two days after the violent theft was caught on video inside a 7-Eleven store in North Hollywood.
The 11-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback pit bull mix, named Drake, was located at a sober living home in Orange County. Operators of the home recognized the animal from news reports and confronted the tenants, who had it in their possession.
The suspects fled from the facility, leaving the dog with the operators, who called the Orange County Sheriff's Department. That agency then contacted the Los Angeles Police Department.
The dog did not appear to be in any distress.
An LAPD spokesperson said the motive for the theft remains unknown, along with the identities of the suspects. The federal law restricting release of medical information prevented the sober living home from providing the names of tenants to police.
The theft of the dog was reported at 12:46 a.m. Tuesday at a 7-Eleven in the 11100 block of Burbank Boulevard.
Disturbing video shows a man and a woman knock down and assault the victim inside the store and take the dog.
"She was approached by a female and male suspect who indicated that they didn't like the way she was treating her dog," LAPD Detective Ryan Lee said in an interview before Drake was found. "There were no other words exchanged. The victim then went to use the ATM machine that was inside of the market. And then, with her back turned, she was attacked."
After reviewing video footage, police said there was no indication that the victim had mistreated her dog.
According to Kris Kelly with the Kris Kelly Foundation, a nonprofit that works to save animals from abuse, Drake's breed is a top draw for thieves looking for bait dogs.
"They look for dogs like this because they're flat coated," she said. "They don't need them to be fighters, they need them to be bait."
Lee said the case is "a bit interesting for us because generally we look at some of the more high-end dogs that some of our celebrities have, that seem to be hard to find.
"In this case," the detective said, "a Rhodesian Ridgeback pit bull mix is not necessarily something that is highly coveted amongst some of the thieves that are our there. So we're working to try to understand the motive."
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the LAPD at (818)754-8424 or provide anonymous information to Crime Stoppers at (800)222-TIPS.
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