Karl Kupecz and his family left their home around 7 p.m. one evening to grab some food. But when they returned, their 5-year-old’s beloved puppy, Bear, was missing.
The young pup had been in the backyard, behind a fence with no lock on the door. Initially, Kupecz blamed himself, believing he had accidentally left the gate open when they left.
But the family had a security camera installed on the outside of the home and reviewed the footage to see if Bear had somehow escaped on his own.
Within minutes, a woman they didn’t know appeared on the video. She seemed to notice Bear in the backyard, and walked right over to him.
The video caught the woman unlatching the unlocked gate and luring the puppy out, who was eager to meet someone new.
But the pup didn’t know that this wasn’t a nice woman. Bear followed her at her heels as she quickly walked away from the house and down the road.
Kupecz couldn’t believe what he had just witnessed on video. Most of all, he knew his daughter would be “absolutely crushed” by the loss of her dog.
The father quickly took to Facebook with the surveillance footage, asking friends and family to help spread the word and photos.
Thanks to the power of social sharing, news of the crime spread like wildfire. And by morning, Kupecz received a tip about a woman matching the thief’s description.
Kupecz went to see if he could find the woman, but went home after the tip led to a dead end.
While waiting for news crews to arrive that same afternoon, a woman was walking up their street pushing a bike. Kupecz had a feeling it was the very puppy bandit he was after.
He and the news crew followed the woman, who attempted to ride away on the bike and even hopped over fences to escape. Eventually, they cornered her and waited for police to arrive.
The woman was later identified as Heather Deann Johnson, 40, who police quickly arrested for an outstanding warrant.
She was given the chance to show police where she took the puppy, and she led them to a shed where she’d tied him up and left him.
Police later took Kupecz to the same location, where he was reunited with Bear. “I’m floored,” he said. “I thought we were never going to see him again.”
“My daughter and family are overjoyed and in disbelief this turned out with a happy ending,” he wrote on Facebook.
The family also thanked everyone who shared the post and helped to bring Bear back home. He was brought to the vet, and other than a bit of dehydration and exhaustion, he was back to being himself in no time.
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