By Jamie Leary
DENVER (CBS4) – The search is on for the person who stole a family dog from their front yard in broad daylight.
“I don’t think they realize that she’s our family and this is emotionally traumatic for all of us involved and the most important thing is that we just want her back,” said Jaime Gastelle while crying.
It was Tuesday afternoon near 4th Avenue and Monaco Parkway when the passenger of a black pickup truck stole Zoe, a six-month-old Shih Tzu.
Home surveillance captures a man in a red hat and white cowboy boots unhooking Zoe from her leash then peeling away with the pup in tow. Zoe’s family is devastated.
“She’s really the kid’s dog… the kid’s dog. They love her. They adore her. They take care of her,” said Gastelle.
Gastelle’s boyfriend, Yoann Hispa, was working from home. His two children were at school. He decided to let Zoe relax in the front yard.
“I’m working here, I’m watching her because she loves being outside and saying hi to people. She’s extremely friendly,” said Hispa.
It was when he took his eyes off Zoe to take a phone call, the suspects made off with Zoe.
“Those guys… they were just really fast. I didn’t see them. I chased them by car, but it was too late,” he said.
Hispa says it makes him sick to think about it.
“She just loves being in the front yard. She says hi to everybody. Now I’m feeling really, really guilty,” he said.
While Denver police are investigating, the couple has hired a private detective. They believe the theft was planned.
Just three days before Zoe was taken, home surveillance shows a woman in a Prius circling the home a dozen times before stopping to play with Zoe. She has not been connected to the theft, but Hispa had to asked her to leave.
“She’s saying she’s an animal care giver, and that this animal looks like it’s not treated well and it needs care,” he said. “She was even saying like ‘hey, I would like to take your dog for a walk’ and we’re saying ‘no, she’s fine.’”
In the surveillance video, you can hear Hispa tell the woman, “I am sorry, but it is not appropriate for you to keep stopping by.”
Zoe has a chip, but it only works to find the dog if someone turns her into an animal shelter.
The family says if Zoe is returned unharmed, there will be no questions asked. They are offering a reward.
The couple has devoted every spare minute they have to finding Zoe. If you have any information, you’re asked to contact Denver police.
Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015 and currently works as a reporter for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. She couldn’t imagine a better place to live and work and will stop at nothing to find the next great story. Jamie loves learning about and hearing from her fellow community members, so connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.