Eagle River, Alaska (KTUU) - After multiple twists and turns and a case of mistaken identity, Dexter the stolen puppy is finally back home with his owner.
MJ Thim, a spokesperson for Anchorage Police Department, says Dispatch received a call from Anchorage Animal Care and Control around 5:30 p.m. that Dexter may have been dropped off. Due to the mistaken identity situation from earlier Saturday morning, "additional steps" were taken to identify the dog. "Once the final step was taken, Dexter was released to the victim," said Thim.
The saga of the stolen stolen puppy started Friday when Dexter was forcibly taken from a locked car parked in a Walmart parking lot in Eagle River.
Chugiak high school graduate Noah Ralph, 19, found his 2008 blue Toyota Scion with a smashed window, and the puppy missing. Ralph told police he had only been in the store for under 10 minutes.
According to APD, the suspect smashed the driver's side window, grabbed the puppy, and fled in a small dark green SUV with a tire on the back. Surveillance video showed the suspect circling around the car, walking up to it, and breaking out the window.
Saturday morning saw a twist. APD announced they had received a call around 9:00 a.m. from Animal Care and Control of a puppy matching Dexter's description. An employee had found the puppy in an after-hours drop-off location and believed it looked similar to the dog identified by police Friday. Officers went to Animal Care and Control along with the owner who identified the dog as Dexter.
Ralph said the dog had identical markings to Dexter. However, when he got "Dexter" home he found the puppy in his possession was a female. He called Animal Care and Control and the chief came to take back the female puppy to the shelter.
Brianna Trybalski says her brother owned the female dog named Zoe. She had dropped her off with three of her litter mates Friday evening after her brother was unable to continue caring for the puppies.
Trybalski says the family had spent months trying to re-home the litter of eight puppies through social media. Both Trybalski and Ralph believe that Zoe and Dexter are likely to be litter mates but they have not been able to confirm that.
Ralph says he got a call from APD around 6:00 p.m. to say that the real Dexter had been delivered to Animal Care and Control. He says "it's great" Dexter is home.
Thim says the man who dropped Dexter off is not a suspect. "Officers are following up on the information he provided to solve this crime." An investigation is ongoing.
The alert about the missing puppy was sent out via text-message Friday through the APD Nixle system, an information service that agencies use to alert the public.
Thim says it was a collaborative decision to use a text-message Nixle to inform the public about the missing dog. "Investigators felt it was an unusual situation and believed the public could help," said Thim. He says the case has also sparked a lot of great feedback given to the police department, both negative and positive, about the appropriateness of alerting the public about the missing puppy.