A couple walked into a Bay Shore pet store and walked out with a two-pound puppy worth $2,500.
The problem is, they never paid for the 9-week-old dog.
Now, Suffolk County police are searching for a man and woman who they say dognapped the teacup Maltese on Friday from American Dog Club at the Westfield South Shore mall on Sunrise Highway.
The store’s district manager, Annmarie Mancuso, 41, said she is worried about the puppy’s health because teacup Malteses need to be fed three times a day and have drops of sugar added to their diet.
“If they just return me the puppy, I don’t care who it is, I promise I won’t press charges,” she said. “I just want the dog back. I’m just worried about the safety of the puppy.”
Mancuso said she reviewed security camera footage of theft but couldn’t get a clear description of the dognappers.
“He was wearing a blue sweatshirt,” Mancuso said. “And she had long, brown, straight hair and a big pocketbook.”
The incident occurred around 2:20 p.m., Mancuso said, during an unusually busy day at the pet shop. With schools closed for Veterans Day, the shop was crowded with children reaching for puppies and parents asking questions.
Mancuso went into her back office to check voicemails at about 2 p.m. Around that time, the couple entered the store. They went to the cage with the teacup Maltese, opened it, and took the dog, she said.
As the couple walked out of the store, an employee working at a newsstand across the hallway spotted them, according to Mancuso. The man, who was holding the dog “like a football,” quickly turned away from the newsstand employee, Mancuso said.
The newsstand employee flagged a pet shop employee, who notified Mancuso. Despite wearing a pair of heels, the district manager ran after the couple.
“It took us about a minute and 30 seconds to get out to the parking lot,” she said. “And by then, they had gotten into their car and were gone.”
Police do not have suspects but said whoever is responsible for the theft would face a grand larceny charge. Anyone with information about the dog’s whereabouts can call Crime Stoppers at 800-220-8477.