Maltese puppy theft captured on video at Rockville pet store - KMSP-TV

Maltese puppy theft captured on video at Rockville pet store

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ROCKVILLE, Md. -

Police in Rockville, Md. have released security video showing a woman stealing a puppy by putting it in her purse. It happened at a store called Just Puppies on Veir's Mill Road in Rockville.

The store has a policy of allowing prospective buyers to hold onto and play with puppies in a series of small enclosures to see if the animal and the human get along with each other.

On Friday, April 12th, a woman came into Just Puppies, she said, to look for a pet. She seemed like a normal customer, explained employee Mara Fain. "She was very polite," recalled Fain. "I asked her a few questions -- if she was interested in anything. You know, she looked around for awhile. And I said, 'Did you find anything?' And she kept coming back to the cage with the Maltese in it."

The Maltese was a tiny but expensive puppy, with a retail price of $1200. "She said she was very interested in purchasing the dog, said Fain, "but she wanted to wait until her fiancee gave the approval."

Mara moved on to other customers, and, some few minutes later, one of the other customers asked to see the Maltese. At that point, the employees realized the puppy was missing. They reviewed the store security video, which shows the woman putting the dog into her purse, and then leaving.

Police in Rockville are looking for a white female in her late 20's, about 5' 7". She speaks with an Eastern European accent. And, she may have a very small Maltese with her.

There's something else quite distinctive about this theft suspect, say police: the woman has, on the back of her neck, a tattoo of a Cheshire cat.

Given the distinctive tattoo, police in Rockville believe it's just a matter of time before the woman who stuffed a puppy into her purse is identified and arrested.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the puppy, the identity of the woman in the photograph, or both, are asked to contact the Rockville City Criminal Investigations Unit at 240-314-8938.

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