A mission dognapping that captivated social media users in the Kansas City area last week was partially resolved Sunday with the return of Maybel, a 10-year-old Boston terrier, to her owner.
All it took was a subway-wide search, a $1,000 reward, and a pet detective.
Maybel returned home after an anonymous resident contacted a man from Overland Park with a Facebook page that helped owners reunite their lost pets, letting him know they’ve recovered the stolen dog in their home’s yard. Westport, said Major Kirk Lane, a spokesman for the mission’s Police Department.
The series of events began last Monday when Maybel’s owner Liz Robison left the dog in the car while she ran to a Mission Hy-Vee on Martway Street to ask for her prescription. She said she left the air conditioning on, had her key fob with her and thought she locked the doors.
When Robison returned, her car — and Maybel — were gone.
She reported the theft to the Mission Police Department, who said there had been a series of other calls from a nearby Target and post office in a short space of time. They thought the calls were related.
The vehicle was later found around 10 p.m. in Kansas City near the 3500 block of Broadway Boulevard, police said. And the police had a suspect. The mission police are looking for Timothy J. Best as a suspect in the theft of the car and dog. Best has issued a warrant for his arrest in Johnson County, Lane said.
But Maybel was still missing.
A Hy-Vee employee helped Robison connect with Glenn Golden, a self-proclaimed pet detective who for years has been helping locals reunite their lost pets through a Facebook page with more than 23,000 members.
“She held out her hand because I’m a bubbling mess,” Robison said. “I’m crying on the Hy-Vee floor because my dog, the love of my life, is gone, and I’m kicking myself for making a bad decision.”
Robison said she sent Golden photos and information about Maybel, and he posted it all on the Facebook page. Members then sent the information to neighborhood watch groups in the area.
An outpouring of social media support followed, with people reaching out to tell Robison they would help find Maybel. She and Golden worked to put up flyers with Golden’s contact information in the Kansas City area.
By Thursday, Robison wanted to encourage more people to send information about Maybel. She asked, and Golden agreed, that she could offer a $1,000 reward to anyone who found the dog.
Robison said Golden received a message Sunday morning from someone who said they knew where Maybel was and would try to get her and take her back to Robison.
Golden coordinated a meeting place and time with the person, who wished to remain anonymous, in a public place with supervision.
Robison came to the exchange with Golden and some friends. She said the anonymous people had brought Maybel in a Dollar General shopping basket and a blanket, and Golden had given them the money.
Robison said that when she brought Maybel back to the car and then inside, the dog didn’t try to get out of the basket.
Maybel was dirty and needed a bath. She woke up all night and seemed disoriented, Robison said.
“It was very sad… She wasn’t even happy to see me,” Robison said.
When she petted Maybel Sunday night, Robison said she could feel her bones. It was also noticeable that the dog had lost weight when an old harness she had outgrown fitted loosely.
“I don’t think they harmed her,” she said. “I just think she was so shocked that she didn’t eat.”
Robison plans to take Maybel to the vet on Tuesday and make sure there are no other problems. Since her first night at home, Robison said Maybel is acting more like herself, and she hopes she’ll be okay soon.
After what happened, Robison said she encourages others to think twice before bringing pets to run errands or leaving them in the car.
She also said pet owners who have their pets microchipped should ensure their information is up to date before their animal goes missing.
“I still have a lot of guilt,” Robison said. “Because, unfortunately, Maybel had to pay for my mistake.”