A stolen puppy is home safe after a few days on the lam.
Four days after a pup named Pal was pinched from the Puppy Paradise store on Flatbush Avenue in Marine Park, someone — possibly one of the three men caught on tape abducting the dog — returned the shanghaied Shih Tzu over the weekend.
“The dog is doing great,” said store owner David Deitz. “He ate quite a bit, but he seemed to be fine.”
When the pup was taken last week, the store’s owner said it was “Gone In 60 Seconds” — puppy style.
Three men burst into the store on March 25, let themselves into a “secure puppy room,” and stuffed the $1,000 puppy under one of their jackets before taking off, Deitz said.
“It all took about 60 seconds,” he said.
The staff did not immediately realize the gold-and-white male pup was gone.
The store rents out puppies for kids’ parties, and Pal was scheduled to work Tuesday afternoon, Deitz said. It was not until staff went to prep the pooch that they realized it was gone, and after a brief search, a check of the security footage revealed the hound heist.
“We went back to the tape, and we saw the dog being puppy-napped,” he said.
Deitz believes the men came in to rob the register, but when they saw several customers inside, decided to cut their losses and steal the canine instead, he said.
“They were not family people coming in for a pet,” he said. “They were definitely out of character to be in the store.”
This is not the first time Puppy Paradise has had to track down a poached pup.
Two years ago, someone swiped a pricey Yorkshire terrier from the store, Deitz said. Cops collared the crooks, but the dog had already changed hands. The teen who bought the hot dog felt bad, but did not want to confront store owners, so she sent them first to the corner of E. 87th and Farragut Road in Canarsie. There Deitz said he found a note pinned to a tree directing him to the nearby Floridian Diner. Deitz found the dog at the diner and, after he hounded the waitstaff — who thought the adorable pup was a gift from the girl and did not want to give it up — he finally reclaimed the purloined pup.
Pal’s return was a little less dramatic, but it still had an air of mystery.
Deitz said a hooded man came to the store and dropped the dog just inside the front door. Then, 10 minutes later, he called to say he had returned the dog and asked Deitz not to prosecute.
The mystery man’s face was not visible, but based on his build, Deitz believes he was one of the original puppy-nappers.
Deistz said he harbors no ill will toward the man, and sees the rover rustling— and returning — as a clear cry for help.
“It was a mistake, he lived up to it and corrected it, and he wants to live a better life,” Deistz said. “He’s welcome to come back, and I’d be willing to shake his hand and talk to him about what’s going on with his life.”