The pooch is back! $3,700 Shih Tzu puppy stolen from Fort Myers pet store recovered

The small breed dog worth $3,700 is missing from its kennel at Pet…

The pooch is back! $3,700 Shih Tzu puppy stolen from Fort Myers pet store recovered 1
The pooch is back! $3,700 Shih Tzu puppy stolen from Fort Myers pet store recovered 2

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.”

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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.

Connect with breaking news reporter Michael Braun: MichaelBraunNP (Facebook)@MichaelBraunNP (Twitter) or mbraun@news-press.com.

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The pooch is back! $3,700 Shih Tzu puppy stolen from Fort Myers pet store recovered 3

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