Police searching for suspect who stole puppy in Lake Wales

Polk County

LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) – Lake Wales police are currently searching for a suspect who stole a puppy from a pet store.

According to police, around 5:35 p.m. Wednesday, officers responded to Furbabies Pet Store located inside the Eagle Ridge Mall. The owner of the store reported a Shih-Tzu puppy, valued at $1,500, had been stolen from a display crib.

Police say the owner watched the surveillance video from her store and saw the suspect take the puppy out of the crib, placing it in a bag from another store and exiting the pet store without paying for the dog.

“The biggest concern is getting the puppy back and make sure it’s safe. The money part, that is not as big of a deal. Someone who can’t afford to purchase a dog or get one of our rescues, because we do a lot of rescues also, probably can’t afford to feed the dog or do proper vetting either. So, our biggest concern is making sure we get it back and in good care,” said John Phillips, owner of Furbabies Pet Store.

The puppy is described as a white and black Shih-Tzu that has been microchipped.

If you recognize the suspect or know the whereabouts of the puppy, please contact Detective Ben Metz at 863-678-4223 ext. 265.

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