Dog stolen from California in 2015 found with burglary suspects in Sarasota

Sarasota County

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Sarasota Police Department arrested two people accused of a burglary spree in the Lido Key area and reunited a dog they had allegedly stolen with its California owner.

Police said Tracie Defee, 52, and Michael Paine, 48, are suspected of at least eight burglaries between Oct. 18 and Oct. 20.

Officers notified residents in the area of the burglaries of who they were looking for and that they may be with a bulldog.

The police department received a call on Oct. 20 that a resident on Lido Key had spotted and was in contact with an individual walking the described bulldog.

After a thorough search of the area, officers found and arrested Defee and Paine in a bathroom inside a home on Grant Drive.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services responded to the scene and took custody of the bulldog, Maggie.

Luckily, Maggie turned out to have an electronic chip in her that told police she belonged to a man in California. Investigation revealed Maggie was taken from her California home in October of 2015.

The Sarasota Police Department contacted Maggie’s family in California and organized her return home. She was returned home Monday, Nov. 18 and reunited with her family.

But getting Maggie home was not cheap, so Sarasota Police officers footed the bill, raising $800 to transport her home.

The California family does not wish to be identified, but 8 On Your Side spoke to the man who transported Maggie home last week. He said the dog immediately recognized its owner.

“As soon as Maggie saw him, she took off bolting, running to him. She actually ripped the leash out of my hand to get to him faster,” said Todd Grippe with Haulin’ Paws.

It just goes to show no matter how far they’ve gone, a dog is truly loyal to the end.

Paine is facing one count of burglary and one count of trespassing while Defree faces five counts of burglary – among other charges.

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