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Pet store seeks stolen puppy

Surveillance video taken from Pet Palace in Middle Village shows a woman with a suitcase inside the Fresh Pond Road store. Photo by Howard Koplowitz
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The husband-and-wife owners of a Middle Village pet store are offering a $200 reward and a store discount to anyone who can help cops identify a woman who snatched a puppy from the business Friday night.

The woman, who was caught on surveillance video and was described by the store as a Polish woman in her 50s or 60s with a thick accent, took the 1 1/2-pound, 8-week-old Doberman pinscher after distracting employees at Pet Palace, at 69-11 Fresh Pond Road in Middle Village.

“She walked in about 7 o’clock on Friday night and she was speaking to my employees, making small talk,” said Suzanne Caracci, who has owned Pet Palace with her husband Anthony for two years. “While [an employee’s] back was turned, she picked up the mini pinscher. She bent over, she picked it up, she put the puppy into her bag and she just walked out.”

The woman, believed to live near Holy Cross Church, fled on foot and made a left from Fresh Pond Road, not to be seen again, Suzanne Caracci said.

“Unfortunat­ely, nothing. We know that the whole neighborhood’s on our side, but nobody has seen anything,” she said.

The Caraccis are offering a $200 reward and a store discount for anyone who can identify the woman so police can make an arrest.

Suzanne Caracci said the 8-week old pup needs specialized care to survive because of its small size.

“It’s very tiny and it needs Nutrical [a vitamin and calorie supplement for teacup dogs] and special attention,” she said. “Without food and Nutrical, they can go into hypoglemic shock within a day.”

Anthony Caracci said he and his wife are worried about the puppy’s well-being and said he was stunned that someone would steal the dog.

“How are you going to afford to take care of the dog if you can’t afford to pay for it?” he said, noting the pup needs to eat every three hours.

The Caraccis said they have been scouring websites like Craigslist and pet sites for a mini pinscher for sale.

“We don’t know what her motives were,” Suzanne Caracci said. “Whether to keep the puppy or sell the puppy, we don’t know.”

Volunteers even visited Bob’s Tropical in Woodhaven to see if anyone came in the pet shop offering a mini pinscher, but to no avail.

Suzanne Caracci said the incident has rocked the tight-knit Middle Village community.

“For all our small business owners, that’s a hard hit to have someone in the neighborhood do that to you,” she said. “If it happens to us, it can happen to anybody in the neighborho­od.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Posted 7:51 am, February 23, 2012
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