JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - A 39-year-old Jacksonville woman was arrested in charged in connection with stealing a teacup Chihuahua from Pampered Paws in Jacksonville Beach last week.
Police arrested Evelyn Estes, and the dog was returned to the pet shop.
After the story about the theft aired Friday night on Channel 4, the Jacksonville Beach Police Department called the owner, Tammy Beavers, to come and pick up her dog.
According to police, the suspect's neighbors saw the news story and then called Crime Stoppers. Beavers said the puppy was fine.
Police said Estes was seen on surveillance video reaching into a crate, then full around with her purse.
As she appeared to be getting ready to leave the store, she turned toward the camera, zipped up her bag and began to speak with someone at the counter, police said.
That person at the counter was Beavers, who said she was helping another customer in the back of the store when it happened, but heard the suspect call for assistance.
"After she had it in her purse, then she hollered, 'Hello,'" Beavers said. "So it's kind of odd. I can't explain it."
"There's a sign that says you're on camera right above the puppy she stole. And in the video, you can see she looks at both cameras, kind of rolls her eyes at them. But she did. She looked right at them. Had no fear or care or anything."
Beavers said the suspect said she was looking into buying a new dog and proceeded to have an eight-minute conversation with her, all while the dog was in the bag.
"They're like my babies and I have two children. It's very alarming that someone could come in and take one away from you," said Beavers. "After she had it in her purse, then she said, 'Hello.' It's kind of odd. I can't explain it. I thought of it all night. She was pretty ballsy to come in talk to the owner like it was nothing. Probably talked to me like eight minutes or more."
Beavers said she was distracted with other customers during all this and couldn't see the small puppy hidden in the purse.
"Somebody decided that they wanted to steal a puppy from us and she did it kind of sneaky but then again not sneaky, blatantly had no fear or anything," said Beavers.
She said the puppy costs about $1,300.
More importantly, she said, it's a delicate breed that needs a special diet and could die without it.
"True teacup, tiny little puppy. Her mom had three in the litter, but it's not even the money portion of it. It's the puppy that only weighs like 6 or 7 pounds," said Beavers.
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