A man who stole a $3,700 Shih Tzu puppy from a Fort Myers pet store has been identified and the young dog rescued.
Fort Myers police put out an alert Monday for the 9-week-old male pup after it vanished from Pet Kingdom in the South Plaza on South Cleveland Avenue on Saturday.
Surveillance cameras at the store focused on a man who stuffed the Shih Tzu under his shirt and walked out of the jungle-themed pet store.
Tuesday morning a Fort Myers police official said the animal had been recovered and the man identified. While further details were not yet available the Lee County Sheriff’s Office apparently had a hand in helping to recover the dog.
Earlier, a store official expressed hope that the pooch would be found.
“We’re just hoping he might turn up,” said store representative Breeza Zeller. “We have a national alert out and we’ve talked to area veterinarians.”
Zeller said she was concerned for the very young puppy, one of several Shih Tzu’s Pet Kingdom had in the display area, since it needs a special diet and constant care.
Police said the male suspect walked into the store shortly after 5 p.m., took the small-breed dog out of its pen, concealed the dog under his shirt and walked out.
The suspect has a large frame with tattoos on his arms and was wearing a blue Florida Gator’s hat and a green T-shirt.
Anyone with information about the theft is urged to call SWFL Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477) to anonymously provide information. Tipsters can also call Fort Myers police at 239-321-7700 or via the department’s TrueBlue app. Tips can be called to the store at (239) 939-3600.