In October of 2018, surveillance camera footage of two dognappers had gone viral far beyond the town of Mesquite, Texas where the crime took place.
In the video, two men can be seen pulling up to the fenced-in yard of dog breeder Matthew Ivy while his dogs were outside. While one man distracts the adult dogs, the other callously steal Ivy’s 10-week old French Mastiff puppy, Chipper.
Leaning over the fence and grabbing him by the collar, with a cigarette hanging from his mouth, one of the men puts the puppy in the car and the two drive away.
The crime took place in broad daylight.
The surveillance camera was in the perfect position to capture everything from the act in question to the details of the escape vehicle.
The thieves stole the puppy to sell for cash.
Ivy was devastated by the theft, which took place when no one was home.
“I’ve always been a dog lover. These guys are family. I know it’s not a kid, but to me, it feels like that,” he said, according to WDTN.
Bryan Vazquez ended up buying the puppy from the thieves who approached him at the tire shop he works at in east Dallas. He said he bought the puppy for $300 because he suspected it was stolen and wanted to return it to its owner.
“If I don’t get it, who knows what happens with it,” he told NBC 5 of his thinking. “Let me go ahead and buy it from him and then I’ll figure it out afterward.”
Because the footage had gone viral, Vazquez quickly realized where the dog belonged and returned Chipper to his breeder/owner.
In a Facebook post, Ivy thanked Vazquez and said he had received a reward from a GoFundMe campaign set up to fund a reward fee. The rest of the over $1,000 went to others who helped.
“His half of the reward money is $575.06 from the $1150.12 I got from the Chipper GoFundMe. The other half went to the courageous man who told me and the detective the names of the thieves. He recognized them from the video.”
But Chipper’s rescuer was just glad to be able to facilitate the reunion.
“It feels good to have returned the dog and to have everything for the dog to be back where it belongs,” Vazquez said.
Ivy reported that the puppy was adopted by a loving family from Dripping Springs the following week.
He went to a home where he would have a big brother of the same breed to play with – along with lots of human love.
One of the men was arrested and charged with the crime while trying to cross the border to Mexico, but he posted bond and disappeared.
The other man was never located, but warrants remain out for both arrests.
Meanwhile, Chipper – whose name is now Riddick – is living the high life with his new family and would be A LOT harder to lift over a fence these days!