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MidVil family agonizes over Yorkie stolen from home

Diana Tarantola, 31, and her husband, Steve, 33, returned to their Middle Village home around midnight on Jan. 27 after attending a friend's birthday party to the surprising silence of an empty house. "As soon as the front door opens, our dog starts barking, but we didn't hear him bark," Diana Tarantola said. "We looked at each other and said, 'That's weird.'"While the Tarantolas searched the house, they discovered that thieves had climbed onto the deck of their second floor home, broken a window and popped the lock to gain access in their house. They said the crooks stole an estimated $2,500 in cash, jewelry and family heirlooms from Italy, an iPod, a camcorder, cigars, a backpack and, of course, Buddy. But the thieves did not take her computer or any stereo equipment, Diana Tarantola said.She said her downstairs neighbor was also pilfered and detectives from the 104th Precinct said they were investigating other recent burglaries in the neighborhood. Now, the Tarantolas must decide what to tell their 2-year-old daughter, Deanna, in the case that their beloved pet is never returned."We told her Buddy's mom was sick and he had to go home to take care of her," Diana Tarantola said. "But she is going to get older. I don't think I'm going to tell her that the house was robbed. Not only did (the thieves) rob us, they put us in a vulnerable position."The couple said they are offering a $4,500 reward for Buddy's return. Diana, who can be reached at dianatarant@msn.com, said she will even give the thieves the reward money for the safe return of the dog."They took our money and jewelry, but we didn't care about that stuff," she said. "Just give us back our dog. He's so much more than a pet-he's our family. Whoever has him is lucky because he's such a sweet dog."Diana Tarantola, a part-time assistant for JP Morgan Chase, and her husband, who owns a Middle Village pizzeria, forgot to turn the alarm on at their house on the night of the robbery. But she recently upgraded her home's security system-her father-in-law is loaning them his pet German shepherd, Boxer.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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