By Shawn Chitnis
WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The owners of a stolen puppy confronted a man on Saturday they say stole the dog from their own backyard and tried to sell the English bulldog on Craigslist.
“I came out immediately and the gate was open to my yard,” said Myra Masters. “It was flipped up and left open and my pup was gone.”
Masters bought the dog three weeks ago. Flash is barely five months old and quickly became the pride and joy of the family. He not only resembles the logo for their electrical business but he is also a favorite with her kids.
Reasons she was determined to get the dog back, especially when she realized that someone stole the dog. Masters decided to take matters into her own hands so she could bring the puppy home.
“Of course on Facebook. It just went wild,” she said. “The shares went crazy.”
She called her neighbors and friends and posted photos of the dog online. A week of spreading the word lead to a tip on Friday.
Two women living in Denver contacted her and said someone was selling a puppy that looked just like Flash, he was asking for $600 to buy the bulldog.
“I got the app that would say I’m any number I changed it to their phone number.”
Masters asked the two women if she could pretend to be one of them and confront the thief. She came up with a plan to trick him and get her dog back.
“We went the night before, scoped out this place,” said Masters.
The family looked up the home online and studied maps of the property. She showed up Saturday morning and saw the man with Flash in his hands. She started waving and envelope and told him there was cash inside to buy the dog.
“It really wasn’t full of money,” Masters told CBS4. “It was full of paper.”
She asked to hold the dog and gave the man the envelope. Then she told him what was about to happen next.
“I said, ‘Here’s your $600, enjoy it, you thief, and by the way the cops are on their way,” she said.
Masters told the Weld County Sheriff’s Office about the stolen dog all week and deputies agreed to show up at the man’s home just two miles away from where she lived and investigate the situation.
“It’s his word against yours, he says he found the dog so no charges.”
The man told deputies he found the dog on the street and brought him home. But while there was no arrest in this case, Masters plans to give the reward she posted online to the women that helped her to find Flash.
“Do I think it was safe? Absolutely not,” she said.
Masters admits that her methods for rescuing the puppy may have been too bold. She wants this experience to be a lesson for others. Masters says anyone looking to buy a dog on sites like Craigslist needs to vet out potential sellers. She recommends checking their listed phone numbers to see if it is a permanent number and not from a prepaid phone. Masters also knows confronting someone on private property, instead of meeting in a public place can be dangerous.
“We’re all thinking we’re cowboy people and we’ll go take care of it,” she said. “It worked out OK but it could have very easily gone the other way.”
The Masters plan to keep a closer eye on Flash and lock the dog in a kennel for his own safety. But just days before Christmas, they are thrilled to have the newest member of their family back at home.
“The kids are out of their mind about it. They’re so happy,” said Masters.