Was Dog Held Hostage? Alleged Thieves Accept Reward For Family Chihuahua

Was Peanut dognapped?!

San Diego police confirmed an investigation has been opened in this suspicious case, where the people who returned the 7-month-old Chihuahua may have been the thieves who took the beloved pet in the first place.

Peanut’s family (who withheld their surname when speaking with NBC 7‘s Steven Luke) hails from Laguna Beach, and was visiting San Diego’s Belmont Park amusement park when dad, Peter, set Peanut’s carrier down in order to pay for ride tickets. A moment later, the carrier – with Peanut inside – had disappeared.

Surveillance footage later revealed a couple stealing off with the carrier, concealing it beneath a piece of clothing.

“These people were professionals,” he told the station. “They were unbelievably quick. Unbelievably efficient. If you looked at the way they covered up the bag (and) walked together – the way they got through the crowd….”

The search for Peanut began in earnest shortly thereafter; the family even hired a marketing specialist to help disseminate the information, which culminated in a social-media campaign and a $5,000 reward for the pup’s return.

About a week passed. The few leads accumulated led nowhere. And then an odd phone call seemed promising – but suspicious.

It was a happy reunion for Peanut and family.
It was a happy reunion for Peanut and family.


“[That] they didn’t steal her was the first thing out of their mouths,” says Catharine, Peter’s wife. They provided neither address nor a time to retrieve Peanut. “They wouldn’t tell us where to go until literally 10 minutes before we went.”

Catharine said she asked the detective assigned to her case if officers could come along on the exchange, but they declined. Instead, friends accompanied her to the rendezvous point: a Walmart parking lot in Escondido, where a woman – accompanied by several other cars and an associate who was taking video of the transaction.

“It felt like a business enterprise to me….” Catharine told reporters, “Peanut’s owners handed over only a portion of the $5,000. The strangers didn’t balk, taking what they were offered. The investigation is still active.

“The whole thing felt like a ransom,” Catharine said. “Our dog was held hostage.”

17 thoughts on “Was Dog Held Hostage? Alleged Thieves Accept Reward For Family Chihuahua

  1. There will be NO MERCY for those who have not shown Mercy to others and that includes animals. But if you have been Merciful, God Will be Merciful when he judges you. – James 2:13

  2. Anyone who would accept a reward for helping to find someones lost pet would be suspicious to me.
    I can not imagine accepting or expecting money to reunite a loved one.
    The joy of knowing they are home and safe is enough.

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  4. Why wouldn’t the detectives go along? This person was basically in possession of stolen property so they should have at least been questioned as to how they came across the pup.

  5. Something similar happened to me when I was 13. My dog was stolen from my backyard and they called us and asked for a reward. Broke my piggy bank and $200 later I got my dog back. I wish I knew back then to report it…but I just wanted my dog back.

  6. What kind of police force do they have in San Diego where they’re not willing to send an officer, especially in a case that certainly seems like grand theft dog. I guess that will be the new initials for it, GTD. Without even asking I can practically guarantee if I called the Overland Park Police Department and explained the circumstances they would have obliged. They’re investigating? How are they going to find these people now, who for anyone knows they’ve left the state to pull this crap in some other city and state. For all anybody knows this is how they make a “living”.

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