Two German shepherd puppies were snatched from their home earlier this week on Wednesday in the San Francisco bay area and put up for sale on Craigslist. When the puppies’ owner discovered her pets were missing, she contacted area police, and they set up a sting operation to get her puppies back. The Craigslist caper eventually led police directly to the stolen pups.
After the woman, who has remained unnamed, discovered her puppies had disappeared from her Livermore home, she went on Craigslist and found a pair of German shepherd puppies posted for sale that she suspected might actually be hers. In an undisclosed area within San Leandro, she set up a meeting time and place with the seller listed on the post, police said. To her dismay, when she confronted the seller, he ran away from her.
In a second attempt to recover the puppies, police officers were able to scheme the Craigslist caper to a second location feigning interest in buying the stolen goods. This time, the puppy bandit was arrested on the spot. One of the pups was with him, and after the arrest, police officers spoke with him until he eventually took the police to the location of the second little pooch.
For those who suspect that an item of theirs has been stolen and fear it is up for sale on Craigslist, Google has designed a custom search site dedicated to locating stolen property within Craigslist, www.stolen911.com. Simply, type the missing property in the search bar provided, and the site will search Craigslist’s database for similar items. The site accesses all Craigslist locations, not just the local area.
Since Craigslist is relatively an open, unregulated buyer and sellers market, many stolen items are posted for sale frequently, and often by the thief. The Burglary Task Force of Portland, Ore., has been set up to conduct sting operations for Craigslist related theft. Since launching the unit, the task force says it succeeds every 8 out of 10 times. The unit strongly urges victims of Craigslist theft to not try to buy their belongings back, instead they say get law enforcement involved immediately. Some items will not appear for a few days after the heist, but the task force suggests checking the website frequently and recording the date and time the suspected item appears for sale.
One of the officers on the scene, Police Lt. Mike Sobek, said the San Leandro police department takes all of its cases very seriously, but “this crime struck a nerve with one of our officers and he went that extra step to help recover those puppies and return them to a grateful owner.”
Richard Coleman, a 30-year-old San Leandro man, was arrested on the scene. His bail was set for $30,000, and he was due to appear in court Friday pending a review of the case by Alameda County prosecutors.
After the recovery, the pets were returned to their owner unharmed and unfazed. Despite the dodgy games employed by the Craigslist caper, the fact the he led police to the stolen puppies resulted in a once again happy home.
By Stacy Feder