Car Stolen Outside Donut Shop, Dog Still Inside. Pup Later Found Shivering in Lake


James Noteboom was just following his routine. He often stopped at Pam’s Donuts in Hemet for a hot cup of Joe to start his day off right.

He said that nothing seemed out of the ordinary: “I don’t think I was inside two minutes because I was the only one in there and they know I always come for a medium coffee.”

Even though he hadn’t been in the shop for very long, it was long enough for an opportunist to take advantage of the situation.

His dog Reno had been waiting in the car, but when Noteboom got back outside, neither his dog nor his car was waiting for him.

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James was heartbroken. Surveillance video later showed a man jump out of a nearby car, get into James’ car, and make off with it.

James’ wife, Helga, did not take the news well. And who could blame her?

“To best describe it I went berserk,” said Helga. “Not knowing where he is, if they threw him out, if he was OK, if he was alive anywhere. He was scared to death.”

It had been hours since recovery efforts had been started, but friends and family couldn’t find any leads.

But fortunately for everyone involved, that wasn’t the end of the beloved family dog.

U.S. Marine Master Sergeant Martin Huizar was out with his wife and their dogs in Menifee when he spotted something unusual poking out of a body of water.

“The dog was shivering. He looked like he was swimming but I could see that he could touch the ground,” Huizar said.

After fishing the soggy doggy out of the lake, Huizar and his wife worked to find out where he belonged.

Thankfully, Reno had a collar with ID tags. When they called the number on the tags, a distressed Helga answered.

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She was elated to hear that her pup had been found. He’d been located thirty minutes away, but he was safe.

The thief must have dumped him after stealing the car. Who knows how long the poor pup was wandering around on his own?

Now Huizar is suggesting that once the thief is caught, he needs to be charged with endangering Reno — but at least the dog is back where he belongs and the Noteboom family is whole again.

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