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Dognapped! Family grieving after trio steals their dog — from a cop

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A Prospect Heights couple is desperately searching for its beloved pooch after a trio of alleged lady dognappers convinced a cop that they owned the furry little guy.

Winston — a white West Highland Terrier — went missing in Prospect Park on Friday, prompting a strange chain of doggy handoffs that has tormented a family, baffled the cops and triggered an all-out neighborhood puphunt.

“We don’t have children — so he’s what makes us happy,” said owner Michael Reinhardt with a quaking voice. “This is miserable.”

Reinhardt’s nightmare began when he and his girlfriend Kumiko Masaoka — who live together on Bergen Street — left the Ra Ra Riot concert in Prospect Park with the pooch at around 9 pm.

They headed to the park’s Long Meadow for off-leash hours, but the 1-year-old dog got spooked by a flashing dog collar light and ran away. He was wearing a dog collar, but not his dog tag.

The couple searched in the dark before going home to make posters and to call veterinary shelters. The next morning, according to Reinhardt, a representative at Sean Casey’s Animal Rescue in Windsor Terrace explained that someone had found Winston near Eastern Parkway as he tried to sniff his way back home.

But Winston’s would-be savior handed the pup over to a cop instead of taking him straight to the shelter — and the officer then made the mistake of his young career.

Three ladies in a black car with Virginia license plates had approached the cop — “the new guy” at the 77th Precinct, according to a source inside the stationhouse — on Eastern Parkway near Franklin Avenue, where surveillance cameras caught the action on tape.

The female trio somehow convinced the officer that Winston belonged to them — and the cop handed over the dog.

Reinhardt and Masaoka learned about the dog-napping, and ramped up their search, hanging dozens of fliers, checking online forums in Virginia and contacting FIDO, Prospect Park’s esteemed dog group, which posts information about missing animals online.

“We have about 700 people keeping an eye out for him,” said Bob Ipcar of the group. “That’s a lot of eyes and ears.”

Gumshoe neighbors also joined the hunt, with coffee shop owners and concert-goers offering missing dog tips — and even posting Craigslist ads — to help with the sleuthing.

It’s not the first time a beloved mutt has been stolen in brownstone Brooklyn. Last February, Sugar, a sweet little bulldog was snatched near Grand Army Plaza . And in August, 2009, Laika, an old Husky, was abducted after owners left her in front of a Fort Greene deli — a phenomenon Ipcar compared to, “leaning a $3,000 bike against a pole with no lock.”

Even so, a spokesperson for the police department said dog theft is very rare. “Has it happened before? Yes,” he said. “Is it widespread? No way.”

In this case, suspects could be charged with grand larceny — Winston cost $1,000 — although the crime is emotionally more on par with a kidnapping.

That’s why the distraught and exhausted couple is offering a $1,000 reward and the promise to not press charges.

“We just want him back — no questions asked,” Reinhardt said. “He is our child.”

If you have any information about Winston, call Michael Reinhardt at (646) 256-7343.

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Reader Feedback

Or from Yellow Hook says:
He's keeping the missing monkey toy company - he'll be back.
Aug. 9, 2011, 8:18 am
Dave from Clinton Hill says:
Wishing you the best of luck in getting him back soon.
Aug. 9, 2011, 8:20 am
BKlyner says:
So sad, hopefully karma will take its place. Go adopt a dog if you must resort to stealing one. Pathetic losers.
Aug. 9, 2011, 12:13 pm
mike from red hook says:
my poodle was dog napped . ask DOG WALKERS if they have seen your dog.

"Peaches " was missing 3 days and yep , i got her back . lot of reward posters in the neighborhood that the DOG WALKER had been asked if he wanted to buy a poodle. 2 crack addicts .
Aug. 9, 2011, 2:24 pm
tom from boerum hill says:
The part about the cop just doesn't sound right.
Aug. 10, 2011, 8:57 am
Joe from Windsor Terrace says:
I do hope they find their dog.

I also hope that in the future they will adopt a dog from a shelter rather than buy it from a puppy mill or breeder. In case you've been living under a rock your whole life, there are 25,000 healthy dogs and cats put to sleep every year in NYC alone because 1) people refuse to spay/neuter their animals and 2) people choose to buy/breed more dogs rather than adopt.

Dogs are not status symbols...if you're vain and want to impress other shallow people, spend your money on clothes, jewelry, cars and other frivolous trappings. DON"T BUY DOGS until none die at shelters.
Aug. 10, 2011, 12:21 pm
Jon from Tdot says:
can't do much as i am on the other side of the boarder but i was very touched by this story. i hope you find little winston and actually change you're minds about pressing charges. i also think the cop should be suspended for a certain period of time if it is true about the rookie cop. i got a little westie myself which we rescued from WiN. great people who care so much for these little kids (westies). i really do hope you find him and ill do my part if it means anything by looking/searching online thru blogs.
Aug. 22, 2011, 12:52 am

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