Police and family members were asking for the public's help Thursday in locating a companion dog that was stolen along with a car outside a Long Beach Target store.
The male tan-and-white Chihuahua mix named Sandy was inside the Thompson family's 1985 Nissan Maxima Tuesday evening when someone stole the car from a shopping center parking lot on the southeast corner of Cherry Avenue and 68th Street (map), according to a news release from the Long Beach Police Department.
Jody Thompson had left the dog inside as she quickly ran into Target to get her daughter's prescription medication filled. When she returned roughly four minutes later, her car was gone, Thompson told KTLA.
Surveillance video captured a passenger exiting a white full-size extended cab construction truck that was parked next to the Nissan, entering the car and driving off with it, the release stated. The truck had a California license plate No. 5RIA079, police said.
The video showed the truck following the Maxima out of the parking lot and leaving the area.
The Thompson's vehicle has since been recovered by police in Bellflower, but the dog remained missing as of Thursday afternoon. Nothing else valuable had been taken from the car, according to the family.
Desperate for the safe return of the beloved pet and companion dog, the mother issued an emotional plea asking for whoever has Sandy to return him.
"Can you please give my dog back? Could you give my daughter's dog back?" Jody Thompson said through tears. "I miss him. We need him back."
Her daughter, 19-year-old Emily Thompson, is a special needs girl and has two medical conditions that are affected by stress, according to the family.
"Just please give him back," Emily said. "Turn him into the pound, no questions asked. Just give him back. Let him come home because I need him."
The dog was "important to her well-being," according to the police news release, which also stated that the loss of Sandy has exacerbated her conditions.
"I just try not to think about it so it doesn't mess me up emotionally," Emily Thompson said.
The 4-year-old dog has been a faithful, constant companion to the daughter, rarely leaving her side since she got him in 2011. He was considered be a part of the family, the Thompsons said.
Sandy was wearing a collar with a metal chain at the time he was taken. He does not, however, have an identification tag and is not microchipped.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Sandy or the theft was asked to call Long Beach police Cpl. Joe Starbird at 562-570-7364 or Animal Care Services at 562-570-7387.